Perinatal CHW Toolkit
Expanding Access to Community Health workers (EACH) in the Perinatal Period
In South Carolina, the Center for Community Health Alignment’s mission is to use evidence-based models and meaningful community engagement strategies to address health inequities, including training CHWs and providing technical assistance to organizations to integrate them effectively. This toolkit focuses on perinatal health and will instruct community leaders on how to find the ideal fit for families, the best practices for perinatal CHWs, the resources and data that you will need to support PCHWs, and mentoring programs to help you along the way.
Why focus on the perinatal period in South Carolina?
The health of infants and mothers serves as an indicator, of the overall health of a community. In South Carolina, 364 babies died in 2020 before reaching their first birthday and approximately 14 mothers died in the perinatal period. Our rates of infant and maternal deaths are significantly higher than the national rate.
In South Carolina, we lose a baby every day and a mom every month.
Many of these deaths are avoidable.
We can and must do better.
There are clear racial inequities in infant and maternal mortality – African-American babies and mothers die at more than twice the rate of whites. Racial disparities in prematurity and low birthweight, the most common cause of infant mortality, persist even when African-Americans don’t have other common risks (such as tobacco use, obesity, chronic diseases, Medicaid eligibility, or low education level).
It’s clear that improving birth outcomes, and particularly racial inequities in birth outcomes, is a complicated and dynamic challenge that may not be solved through clinical care, behavioral change, or social programs alone. This is why pairing perinatal families with CHWs is a promising intervention – CHWs tailor their efforts to each family’s own strengths, aspirations, and needs, and can help each family navigate through the intense adjustments of the perinatal period and services available to them.
Perinatal CHWs Programs in South Carolina
BirthMatters’ community-based doulas provide individually tailored, culturally congruent care and advocacy for pregnant and postpartum participants through information, education, and physical, social, and emotional support.
SC Office of Rural Health / Family Solutions (SCORH / FS) provides targeted case management, outreach and health education services to pregnant and postpartum women and their infants in four rural, underserved counties of South Carolina (Orangeburg, Allendale, Bamberg, and Hampton).
PASOs supports Latino communities throughout South Carolina with CHWs that focus on education, advocacy, and empowerment with families.Their CHWs are all bilingual and bicultural community leaders who go through PASOs’ 80-hour CHW training that is accredited by the SC Community Health Worker Credentialing Council.