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Lack Of Support For Vulnerable Mothers Continues

Mothers Matter is a collaboration of science experts, clinical experts, respected social well-being advocates. It is committed to the legal and moral rights of pregnancy, birthing, post-natal care of women, babies, and whanau.

Mothers Matter is incredulous that our government remains unmoved with the lack of support for our most vulnerable, mothers and babies in the first days of life.

Founder and social entrepreneur of Mothers Matter, Chloe Wright, has long petitioned those in the Ministry of Health, DHBs and governmental bodies to recognize the crucial care needed for pregnant, birthing, and post-natal mothers. While agreement has been reached that midwifery is the best support for these stages, there has been very little movement on recognizing that in financial terms. There is no recognition given to the non-government purpose-built birthing centres that allow women, babies and support persons to experience the time of healing and bonding. This time allows for strong levels of attachment and bonding to their new baby. It also increases the commitment of parents to each other, and follows the child for the rest of their life.

The government is aware of the science that supports the crucial importance of the best level of care necessary for the best start in life. However, there is no recognition of this in Thursday’s budget.

Four purpose-built Birthing Centres in some of New Zealand’s most at risk areas have been operating since late 2014. Aware of the lack of equity that follows those who feel unable to demand what is rightfully theirs, the centres were opened as a social enterprise. It was a bold and audacious attempt to show the government how solid, equitable support could and should be available to all women.

The centres would support the science that in New Zealand was lacking in our practice of care. We wanted to give to mothers what is their right - at least 48 hours of the best post-natal care for uncomplicated births and more for complicated births, social vulnerability, or lack of confidence/competence.

A former Prime Minister recognized the government saving by putting the support at the beginning of life, especially through to the first thousand days. Bill English pointed out every $1.00 spent at the beginning can save $15.00 later in life through physical and mental health savings.

Chloe Wright is ‘appalled’ that despite all the science, the latest budget ignores the burgeoning social cost.

‘Has this never occurred to our Minister of Finance or is it of no importance to our Prime Minister? The Prime Minister could not have escaped knowledge of MP Louise Upston and her petition to increase post-natal care to 72 hours for non-intervention births. There is a season for all things, and with pregnancy, birth, post-natal healing is the time for our system to be solid, real, and kind in real terms.’

These four sanctuaries were established as a model of care. The first centre built in the Bay of Plenty has been to a supported with great results by the BOPDHB. In Palmerston North recently the running of the centre was taken over by MCDHB with a Memorandum of Understanding that the philosophy of care would be retained. The centres in Lower Hutt and South Auckland receive no government support whatsoever. They are an obvious solution to enabling women to receive the level of equitable care. All centres are supported by the Wright Family Foundation who support multiple wrap-around services for the communities.

This cannot be sustained indefinitely, all that has ever been asked is funding for services only. Is the government now going to build its own solution, ignoring the fact that birthing centres are just minutes away from local hospitals?


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