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The Apunipima Pepi-pod program has been nominated for a Hesta Australian Nursing Award for 2014. The program originated in New Zealand and commenced in Far North Queensland in December 2013.
The Pepi-pod program is a safe sleep space combined within a targeted safe sleeping health promotion initiative for families with known risk factors for Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI). Professor Jeanine Young from the University of the Sunshine Coast said, 'the name originates from Pepi, which is Maori for baby, with the 'pod' symbolising protection of precious new life.'
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies are 3.8 times more likely to die suddenly and unexpectedly than non-Indigenous infants and we know that infant deaths are associated with co-sleeping in hazardous circumstances, particularly for preterm or low birth weight babies or where smoking, alcohol, drug use or unsafe sleep environments are present,' Professor Young said.
Johanna Neville said the Health Worker led program was being rolled out across seven Cape York communities, Mapoon, Napranum, Aurukun, Kowanyama, Coen, Mossman Gorge and Hopevale.
'The program has three elements, the Pepi-pod which provides a zone of physical protection around the baby wherever they sleep, parent education including a ‘Rules of protection’ safety briefing and practical safe infant sleeping information, and empowering families. Families who participate in the program are asked to make a commitment to spread what they learn about protecting sleeping babies with their friends, extended family and community,' Ms Neville said.
'We are breaking new ground with this study, the use of portable sleep spaces to reduce the risk of SUDI for risk identified families has not been previously reported on in Australia,’ Ms Neville said.
Source: Apunipima Cape York Health Council