October 16, 2018
Mortality stats show birth bias
A former member of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee says the committee’s latest report showing different standards of treatment for newborn babies for different ethnicities shows the system is not fit for purpose.
The report for the latest year found Māori, Pasifika and Indian babies are less likely to be resuscitated than Pakeha babies.
Beverly Lawton says it follows previous reports showing unacceptable levels of available harm and death for those babies, and points to a pattern of structural racism.
A complete remodel is needed.
"Don’t forget that we had a long history in the last few years of blaming the woman for what happens to her baby and her health and we know that's not true. We know the barriers in the system for some women, they cannot overcome them because of the bias, and because we know that we can start to work on those systems," Dr Lawton says.
Māori and Pasifika make up 34 percent of babies born, and the maternal mortality rate is three times that of Pākeha.
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