Funding for safe-sleeping devices axed

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

In Northland, the use of wahakura or pepi-pods to ward off  Sudden Unexpected Death of Infants (SUDI) will continue, despite the Government shelving plans to fund the safe-sleeping devices.

Mother Tarion Tamarapa supports the initiative that will provide a wahakura for her baby girl Baylee April Whareumu who was born more than 3 months premature.

“With her I'd probably want to keep her closer to me a bit longer because of her gestation and the way that she was born, so it gives me that opportunity to have her close to me in bed,” says Tamarapa.

It's an initiative that was piloted in Northland due to the high sudden unexpected death rate of Maori babies.  So staff are naturally disappointed that the Ministry of Health has axed its funding.

Public health nurse Thereza Clark says, “It was done for the benefit of Maori and so we’re devastated the support has been taken away.”

An initiative designed to address inequalities in the health system, it will continue to be supported by the Northland District Health Board. 

Having already used wahakura with her older children, Tamarapa swears by them, “It is very important because if we can utilize this we can prevent the deaths of the infants. I think that's a good thing.”