San Francisco announces plans to provide doulas for low-income mothers

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Malia Cohen Tuesday announced a new program aimed at combating an alarming number of health problems in black and Pacific Islander babies and mothers.

The plan is to train and provide doulas or birth companions.

Records show nearly a quarter of all infant deaths in San Francisco are African Americans. They make up just five percent of the population.

"This issue for me is an issue of equity, fairness and most importantly it's an issue of respect," said Cohen.

Nationwide, black mothers die in childbirth at three times the rate of white mothers in the United States.

Part of the program will be to recruit and train African-Americans and Pacific Islanders as doulas and have them work with those families.

The doula program is slated to begin in January.

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