February 16, 2021
Recommendations ignored as babies die
Babies of Māori, Pacific and Indian mothers are still more likely than babies of New Zealand European mothers to die in pregnancy or within the first 28 days.
The latest report of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee says between 2007 and 2018 there was an overall reduction of babies dying in pregnancy and in the first week following birth, but there was an unacceptable lack of progress for some groups.
Committee member Lisa Paraku called out government, district health boards and health practitioners for failing to implement up to half of the evidence-based recommendations it has made over the past 13 years.
These include investing in maternal and infant mental health and creating an appropriate and equitable national perinatal bereavement pathway.
Chair John Tait says the committee was concerned inequities in access to health care and potentially to health outcomes could have worsened during the response to COVID-19.
He says changes recommended in the report are intended to help prevent further heartbreak for other families.
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