Ministry of Health defends decision not to fund pepi-pod safe-sleeping device

Friday, 15. July 2016

The Ministry of Health has defended its stance on refusing to fund a Maori safe-sleeping device and received backing from Health Minister Jonathan Coleman over its "evidence-based approach" to the issue.

But the ministry's defence is at odds with international infant death experts.

A lack of scientific research proving the safety of portable bassinets, called pepi-pods, meant the ministry had withheld funding, restricting their reach.

Dr Pat Tuohy, the ministry's chief adviser of child and youth health, said to invest in pepi-pods the ministry would need "a greater level of evidence of effectiveness and safety than is currently available".

In a written response to numerous Herald queries, Coleman said: "I support the Ministry taking an evidence-based approached and I'm advised that's what they've done in regards to this matter."

New Zealand, which has the worst rate of sudden infant death in the Western world, is leading the charge on safe sleep devices through grassroots funding and gaining the praise of international health networks at the same time.  Read more