Public health officials in Philadelphia are apparently trying to raise enough money to provide expecting moms in particular neighborhoods with $1,000 each month.
In an effort to narrow the racial gap in birth outcomes, the Philadelphia Department of Health aims to provide this service through the Philly Joy Bank to about 250 expectant mothers. A press statement states that there are “no-strings-attached” to the payouts.
According to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Black infants in the city are more than four times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants, making Philadelphia the city in the United States with the highest rate of infant mortality among the top 10 most populous cities.
Philadelphia’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, has called infant mortality a catastrophe that can be overcome. We know that improving care for expectant mothers and newborns saves lives.
Especially in regions of the city where generational poverty and institutional prejudice are crushing the community, this can be challenging in the nation’s poorest major city. The Philly Joy Bank is modeled after successful unconditional guaranteed income programs elsewhere.
In addition to the financial boost, program participants will have access to a variety of services, like counseling, home visits, breastfeeding assistance, and doulas.
The Philadelphia Health Department states that pregnant women who live in Cobbs Creek, Strawberry Mansion or Nicetown-Tioga, which have the greatest incidence of low birth weight, are eligible for the program. Their annual household income must also be less than $100,000. The city anticipates to out the initiative sometime in early 2024.
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