29 November 2009

Stewart Stevenson Pledges Support for Scottish Launch of Charity Campaign


Scottish National Party MSP for Banff & Buchan, Stewart Stevenson, has attended a special Scottish Parliament reception to launch the Why 17? campaign in Scotland, which asks the question, ‘Why do 17 babies die every single day in the UK?’

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, held the reception at the Scottish Parliament on 18th November 2009, to raise awareness of the 17 babies who are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK. The figures for Scotland are no less shocking; almost every day a baby is stillborn in Scotland and a further 3 babies die shortly after birth every week; this is nearly 500 babies dying every year in Scotland.

At the event, Stewart Stevenson was presented with Sands’ report, Saving Babies’ Lives Report, 2009 which, backed up by new research, highlights several problem areas that are contributing to this level of baby loss, the long-lasting impact of these deaths, and recommends changes that could save babies’ lives.

Stewart Stevenson, pictured at Wednesday’s event with local constituents Heather Turriff and Libby McRae of Fraserburgh and Peterhead Sands, pledged his support for the Sands campaign, saying: “I was shocked to discover that almost 500 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in Scotland alone, and that many families in my local constituency will have experienced the tragic loss of a baby in this way. Sands Saving Babies’ Lives Report, 2009 clearly outlines the key issues, problem areas and recommendations for change, and I am fully committed to supporting Sands in their call for action now to make a difference so more lives can be saved in the future.’

The facts in Scotland today:
  • 325 babies were stillborn in Scotland during 2008 – that’s 1 in every 200 babies born in Scotland. The stillbirth rate has not changed significantly since the 1980’s.
  • 168 babies died within four weeks of their birth in 2008 in Scotland - 122 within the first seven days of their lives.
  • Scotland has one of the highest perinatal mortality rates in Europe (babies who are stillborn or die within the first 7 days of life). Mortality is highest in city areas with the worst social deprivation and poorest general health indicators.
  • Ten times more babies are stillborn than die of cot death every year in Scotland.
“The devastation my family and I felt when our daughter Amy was stillborn was indescribable”, says Susan Lynagh from Neilston, Glasgow. “No parent whose baby has died wants any other parent to suffer in this way, which is why I am passionate about raising the profile of stillbirth. I want to raise awareness that almost 500 babies are dying every year in Scotland and I’m urging MSPs to sit up, and take note of all the hundreds of Scottish parents devastated by their babies’ deaths. We need a co-ordinated, national strategy to tackle stillbirths and neonatal deaths and we need it now.”

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