JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Sobering numbers have come out of the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce. Amidst Mississippi’s ongoing healthcare crisis, the state is also facing a shortage of OB-GYNs.
According to the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce, there are only five OB-GYN specialists per 10,000 child bearing women in Mississippi.
Some counties in the state, such as Lee and Warren counties, just have two OB-GYNs per 10,000 women.
One local women’s health advocate said the shortage is costing mothers critical healthcare access.
“The impact is less people getting health care in a timely manner. Time matters for things like screening, time matters for things like pregnancy, time, you know, time matters for health care period,” said Laurie Bertram Roberts, executive director of MS Reproductive Freedom Fund.
The shortage is occurring in a state that already ranks as one of the highest in infant mortality.
John Mitchell, director of the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce, said the findings illustrate one facet of Mississippi’s healthcare crisis.
“One thing I think that sticks out, it’s personified, in a sense that Mississippi leads the nation in premature births, infant mortality and that’s a reflection I think of the lack of care in prenatal and post-natal. With a diminishing number of OB-GYNs or maternal care, we’re approaching if not already at a crisis,” said Mitchell.
He said the Delta could be where the brunt of the shortage is felt.
“The Delta region is is at a dire need because of two things. One is the lack of obstetrical care in the hospital’s, delivery suites, nurseries and etc. Along with the fact of the diminishing OB-GYNs,” Mitchell stated.