State seeking public input on maternal and child health services

Oklahoma State Department of Health

ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is requesting input from the public to assist in developing a state plan for maternal and child health services.

According to an OSDH press release, the plan will establish goals and action items for years 2021-2025.

The survey will be used in conjunction with the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Block Grant, a federal-state partnership program devoted to improving the health of all women, children and families through Title V of the Social Security Act.

In 2018, Oklahoma served approximately 1.3 million women and children with programs focused on issues like reducing infant and maternal mortality, teen pregnancy prevention, infant safe sleep, children with special health care needs and family involvement, according to the OSDH press release.

A 2018 report by United Health Foundation found Oklahoma ranked 47th in the nation for health factors for women and babies, and in 2017 only Texas had a higher rate of uninsured people. March of Dimes in 2018 reported 41 Oklahoma counties are "maternity care deserts," with no access to obstetric medical services for mothers-to-be.

Oklahoma’s current MCH priorities include reducing the number of babies who die before their first birthday, reducing injuries among children, improving the mental and behavioral health of women and children and reducing unplanned pregnancies, according to OSDH.

"However," OSDH stated in the press release, "the program needs help from Oklahomans to determine if these issues still need funds or if there are other, more urgent needs, impacting health for women and children in the state where monies should be spent."

OSDH is conducting an online survey, in English and Spanish, with questions on health needs before, during and after pregnancy; infant health; and services for children with special health care needs.

“We need feedback that will represent all populations and backgrounds,” said Suzi Harman, the survey coordinator for OSDH. “That is the only way to ensure our future plans and programs help every woman and child in the state.”

For more information about Title V programs or completing the survey, contact OSDH Maternal and Child Health Service at (405) 271-4480. The survey can be accessed in English at https://tinyurl.com/OSDHSurvey-English, and in Spanish at https://tinyurl.com/OSDHSurvey-Spanish.

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com.
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I am a retired Naval Officer and small business owner, outside of my work at the News & Eagle. My wife Tammy and I enjoy serving together at church and attending Gaslight and ESO. We have two daughters, three dogs and little free time.

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