The UK’s top baby experts are calling on the Government to double its funding into research to stop premature birth and pregnancy complications.
More than 30 obstetricians, neonatologists, paediatricians and research specialists are today backing the launch of an on-line petition from the charity Action Medical Research that highlights an unexpectedly neglected area of research.
The charity’s Andrew Proctor said, “You would imagine that something as important and emotive as finding ways to prevent babies from suffering would be a funding priority.
“Tragically this does not seem to be the case.
“As a charity we are raising an extra £3m to fund essential projects with our Touching Tiny Lives Campaign.
“However, Action Medical Research estimates that less than £10 million is made available for research into premature birth and pregnancy complications each year. This figure includes Government money as well as charity funding.
“No wonder doctors and specialists are telling us that they think more must be done at a Government level to save babies’ lives.”
Professor Jane Norman, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the University of Glasgow agreed, “Preterm birth is still the single biggest cause of mortality and morbidity amongst babies born the UK.
“Research funding is desperately needed to prevent this happening to babies born in the future.”
Professor Nicholas Fisk, Professor of Obstetrics and Fetal Medicine at Imperial College London said, “Pregnancy complications have a devastating effect not only on
the mother and child but on the whole family.
“This is one of the most challenging but rewarding areas of research, yet progress against the big three diseases of pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm labour has been severely hampered by the lack of drug company funding.
“This imbalance compared to other specialties cannot be made up by the, albeit exemplary, effort of charities alone.”
Andrew Proctor added, “Action Medical Research has only just launched this petition but it already seems to have developed a life of its own – this is something that people really want to see improve.
“People are sending emails to friends, family and work colleagues – anyone they can think of - to increase the numbers of signatures.
“The comments they are leaving are in turns sad, funny, tragic, inspirational and full of hope.
“We have had messages from mums, dads, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, friends – even those born prematurely who are now adults. This is clearly an issue that touches many people’s hearts.
“Many families are uploading photos of their own babies – some who have survived and are thriving and sadly some who have died.
“The common theme through all of these messages, though, is a desperation for more to be done.
“We’re doing all we can as a charity to raise money – all we are asking is that the Government does the same for this forgotten area of research.”
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