Local health departments play a critical role in responding to public health emergencies, including planning to protect those most vulnerable. According to a new resource by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), “Women who are pregnant, postpartum, and/or lactating and infants and young children have specific access and functional needs that must be taken into account in planning for and providing support during and/or after an emergency.” Despite the number of public health threats that disproportionally impact pregnant people and infants, there is a lack of dedicated resources for prioritizing Maternal-Child Health (MCH) populations in preparedness activities and responses.
HHS developed the Maternal-Child Health Emergency Planning toolkit for healthcare, public health, and social services professionals. The toolkit addresses how to incorporate MCH into emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. It also includes planning steps, key resources and promising practices, critical data, and case studies. This resource is a great way to start learning how to ensure the needs of the MCH population are addressed in your emergency plans.