Essential reading, two pieces by Olivia Carville in The Herald today.
A Maori health target for sudden infant death was lowered by Government officials because it was too difficult to achieve – even though Maori babies are five times more likely to die this way.
Last year, the Ministry of Health reduced the target from 100 per cent to just 70 per cent of caregivers of 6-week-old Maori babies being warned of the risks of sudden infant death.
Ministry officials said the lowered target, which came into force this month, was more reasonable for health workers. This target did not drop for any other ethnicity.
What the hell?
The Government’s refusal to fund a Maori safe sleep device that has been saving babies lives for the past decade has been labelled “institutional racism” by doctors and politicians.
Every year in New Zealand, 50 babies die from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI), with more than half being accidentally suffocated.
Maori babies are eight times more likely to die from unintentional suffocation, largely because of high smoking rates and the cultural custom of bed-sharing.
Over the past decade, Coroners have repeatedly highlighted this inequality, while labelling these deaths a major public health concern and an “indictment on our society.”
“If those were pakeha babies dying the Ministry would be going to extraordinary lengths to find an innovative way of saving them,” said Hastings GP Dr David Tipene-Leach, who designed a safe sleep device called the wahakura to prevent these deaths back in 2006.
Institutional racism is exactly what it looks like.
Someone needs to ask the Maori Party how proud they are to be propping up this government.