Minister can take big step to save babies’ lives

Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman needs to save babies’ lives by directly funding pepi-pods for at-risk families across the country, the Green Party said today.

Professor Ed Mitchell, a world-renowned infant death researcher from the University of Auckland, is meeting the Minister today to request $1.5 million to fund pepi-pods to stop Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). Pepi-pods are a plastic alternative to wahakura, which are woven baskets that give babies a safe space to sleep in their parents’ bed.

“It’s undeniable that funding pepi-pods will save the lives of New Zealand babies. The Minister has the power to make that happen, he just needs to do it,” Green Party Māori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson said.

“The fact that New Zealand has the worst rate of SUDI in the industrialised world is a national tragedy, and the Government should be doing everything in its power to address this issue.

“Māori babies make up more than 60 percent of all cot deaths in New Zealand. Providing every Māori family with a pepi-pod for their baby will help to reduce that terrible statistic.

“In Government, the Green Party will provide every newborn with a welcome package that includes some of the essentials needed by every baby from the day they are born, including a wahakura.

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