Maternal Deaths in America: Incredibly disturbing – Melinda Gates

There is a disturbing trend in maternal deaths in America. Reports show that in recent pasts, there have been worsening indices in maternal deaths in the US, raising concerns among stakeholders on the need to redouble efforts to stem the tide.

This year, 2019, Bill and Melinda Gates will be releasing their 11th Annual Letter. The Annual Letter has become a regular feature of the annual activities of the duo and their Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that was launched in the year 2000. The first Annual Letter was released in 2009.

This years’ Annual Letter by Bill and Melinda Gates will discuss a bit, maternal health in the United States of America, Melinda Gates has revealed. This is given the trends of maternal deaths in the country in recent years.

Indeed, America has been described as the ‘most dangerous country’ to give birth among developed countries of the world, according to a four-year investigative report by Alison Young of USA Today.

Statistics show that over 700 women die annually in the US from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth. Such deaths are worse among black women, who are 3 times more likely to die than their white counterparts. This has raised equity questions and some are now talking about ‘reproductive justice’.

According to National Geographic, Monica Simpson, Executive Director of the Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective based in Atlanta, GA says concerning the issue:

We can’t just talk about our reproductive health and rights from a single issue lens. Our lives are much more complex than that. The way that the multiple layers of oppression show up in our world is not the same way that privileged communities get to experience these issues.

This is why black women came up with the term ‘reproductive justice,’ which is looking at connection between the very real social justice issues that come into our lives every single day.”

In an interview with Alyson Shontell, the Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider US, Melinda Gates gave further insights into the possible causes of these deaths among black women and why 2019 was the right time to mention it in their Annual Letter:

Those statistics are incredibly disturbing, so we are definitely looking at that… A lot of those births have to do with preterm birth, which is happening more with African-American women. We need to unpack why that is happening. Is it barriers in their communities? Is it something genetic? Is it both? Is it stress?  We need to focus on that in the United States. So yes, we are looking at that.

Melinda Gates also spoke about other issues relating to their huge investments in developing countries to fight against many deadly diseases.

You can read further on her interview with Alyson Shontell on

Samuel Abiona

Samuel Abiona

Samuel Abiona is a medical doctor by training and a writer by passion. Samuel holds a postgraduate degree in Public Health. He believes that communicating medical knowledge goes beyond writing technical reviews. Samuel thus uses his expertise in public health and health systems research to transmit technical information for both academic and general audience. Please email to contact this author directly or use the contact page and your information will be passed on to him.