Pa. health secretary visits Philly to gather info on child, maternal health

Hadas Kuznits
April 03, 2019 - 4:49 pm
Pennsylvania's secretary of health, Dr. Rachel Levine (C), was in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, gathering information about child and maternal health.

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania's secretary of health was in Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon, gathering information about child and maternal health. 

Dr. Rachel Levine was at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia gathering information for the governor's Ready To Start program, in which the needs of children up to the 3-years-old are assessed. 

"Part of that initiative, I'm doing a tour of all the children's hospitals of the state," Levine said. 

So what are some of the biggest issues facing children today?  

"From my perspective, we're focused on children's immunizations status, you know there has been measles epidemics and we're watching that very closely in Pennsylvania," she said. "We're concerned about the potential for lead poisoning in Pennsylvania, we're calling for legislation for universal lead testing. The WIC program, Women Infants Children nutrition program, is through the Department of Health."

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And Dr. Levine says maternal health is also of concern. This year, she says, as part of the state's new maternal mortality review committee, they'll be analyzing every maternal death from 2018. 

"In the United States, including Pennsylvania, we have had increasing maternal mortality, which means a death within one year after delivery, and we need to look at the reasons for that," she added. 

Dr. Levine also says we are entering a new paradigm as far as how we assess the health of a child and their family. 

"Public health 1.0 was dealing with sanitation and those type of needs. Public health 2.0 was looking at chronic illnesses that the population has. Public Health 3.0 focuses on the social determinants of health, so what are the community needs in terms of economic security, in terms of nutrition security, in terms of housing, in terms of the environment."