LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The city has awarded its first grant, funded by District 8, to address maternal healthcare in the city.
Metro Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-District 8) announced the $10,000 grant her district created earlier this fall will go to Granny's Birth Initiative, to fund a new "Doula Dash" program.
“When it comes to maternal health, people are missing prenatal and postpartum appointments because they don’t have transportation," doula and Granny's Birth Initiative founder Alexa Hughes said.
Hughes said doulas will act similarly to rideshare drivers, taking expecting or new parents to much-needed appointments.
The doulas can provide guidance and answer questions that come up from the appointment, in addition to the ride services.
“Even though we aren’t medically trained, our holistic measures do increase and you can see better birth outcomes as a result," Hughes said.
Hughes said there will also be an option for doulas to come to clients' homes and act as childcare during appointments.
Hughes' organization aims to provide all-around maternal support. They already have a maternity pantry, giving new moms supplies like clothing and diapers.
The District 8 grant has a similar goal, hoping to support projects that will improve maternal outcomes in the city.
According to the Commonwealth Fund, the United States has the highest rate of women dying from pregnancy-related complications of any high-income country.
Additionally, Black women in Louisville are 2.5 times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women, and statistics show 91% of Kentucky's maternal mortality cases were deemed preventable.
"We know this is one of the most pressing needs in our community, there are moms and infants dying because we aren’t providing these resources," Chambers Armstrong said.
Chambers Armstrong said this funding was just the beginning. She said the Metro Council Budget Committee recently approved a proposal to reallocate $100,000 in ARP funds to create more maternal health grants.
Hughes said she'd like the city fund even more organizations and see city leaders consult and connect with grassroots groups already working to create better outcomes for mothers and babies.
“This needs to be continuous, not just because it’s the trend, we have been dying for decades," Hughes said. "We need trust, we need to build a rapport between grassroots organizations and those trying to help do what we need to do as well.”
Hughes said ultimately she'd like to secure further funding for Doula Dash to create an app.
The full Metro Council would still need to approve adjusting ARP dollars to create further grant funding.