New Govt approach needed to address Māori cot death

A report launched today showing that Māori babies make up more than 60 percent of all cot deaths in New Zealand is another signal that Government agencies are not doing enough to help keep our tamariki safe, the Green Party said today.

A report launched today showing that Māori babies make up more than 60 percent of all cot deaths in New Zealand is another signal that Government agencies are not doing enough to help keep our tamariki safe, the Green Party said today.

Maori Narratives of Poverty, undertaken by Whakawhetu SUDI Prevention, shows Maori are not receiving the post-natal support they need. Green Party Maori Development spokesperson Marama Davidson hosted a seminar at Parliament this morning in which Whakawhetu outlined its vision to address issues faced by Maori families living in poverty, of which children dying of cot death is one.

“The number of Māori babies dying because of cot death is a national tragedy, and the Government should be urgently looking at how to help address this issue,” said Ms Davidson.

“Māori babies are far more likely to die in infancy than any other group and we should all be indignant about that.

“The report shows part of the problem is that health agencies are not reaching the families that need their help the most, with nearly one-third of babies who received no post-natal contact being Māori.

“We know that parental post-natal support is critical to reducing cot death rates. Māori parents are not getting the wraparound Government support they desperately need, and our babies are dying because of it.

“The report also shows that cultural values are central to a sense of wellbeing for Māori whānau, and that this is key to improving their health.

“We need Government agencies to recognise and incorporate kaupapa Maori more effectively into the services they deliver.

“The report also suggests that there may be an unconscious bias in the health sector against Māori children and families, which means that too many of our tamariki don’t receive the support they deserve.

“Medical professionals may need training to counter this bias and get the best outcomes for Māori,” said Ms Davidson.

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