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Child and Maternal Health in Rural Areas Lags the Nation, Highlighting Barriers to Access

Child and Maternal Health in Rural Areas Lags the Nation, Highlighting Barriers to Access

One in five Americans lives in a rural area, including about 18 million women of reproductive age, but key indicators, including mortality figures, show that the health of mothers and children in these communities lags behind that of their urban peers and is worsening. Nationwide, child mortality rates have declined over the past decade, but recent research shows that improvement among infants and young children has been much slower in rural areas. To reverse these disparities and improve overall outcomes, government agencies at all levels, as well as health providers, policymakers, and communities, must combine their expertise and resources to identify effective solutions that address the complex drivers of health and well-being among mothers and their children.

Many challenges contribute to disparities in health outcomes in rural areas, including closures of maternity units and hospitals and a growing shortage of primary care physicians, especially in the most remote places. But research also shows that many other factors contribute to health, such as housing, education, and transportation, and can play key roles in negative outcomes for women and children,  including premature birth, low birth weight, maternal mortality, severe maternal morbidity, and increased risk of postpartum depression.

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Case Studies

I’m pleased because I don’t have to make a 4 ½-hour drive to get my infusion. It’s great that we can now have the therapy that I needed right here.


I’m very fortunate and so grateful for everything the center does for me. The wait is short and I’m in and out in no time. Without this local service, I couldn’t keep my job. I wouldn’t be able to take care of my family or enjoy my life.

CIS Rural Patient

They monitored me, they took care of me. The infection that was causing the pain began to go away. I can tell you now I’m able to stand on both legs. After the infusion therapy, I was able to resume the activity that I truly enjoy, playing the guitar and exploring the wonders of music.


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