THE SDLP’s Mark H Durkan has welcomed a number of events throughout the city this week for SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Deaths) Baby Loss Awareness week (9th-15th October.)
He hopes a visible public awareness will help break the silence around the difficult subject of neonatal deaths and stillbirths.
Said the Foyle MLA: “Year after year, I am approached by parents who have lost their babies to mark this important week and help raise awareness of stillbirths and neonatal death.
“Events this week, including lighting council buildings with the SANDS campaign official colours albeit a small acknowledgement, is a crucial one.
“Actions such as this help open a dialogue among people who have been affected by the unimaginable loss of their babies through miscarriages and stillbirths; a subject which is often treated as a taboo.
“The SANDS charity, now in its 41st year, has provided invaluable support to bereaved parents during this difficult time.
“By creating an increased awareness surrounding the issue we can ensure the best possible support and care for bereaved parents when they need it most.
“More support provisions are greatly needed to assist with the psychological, emotional and social distress experienced by families following the loss of a baby.
“No mother or father should be left suffering in silence.
“I have been working alongside SANDS regarding the need to change current legislation surrounding the registration of these young lives, which currently stand at 24 weeks.
“By acknowledging these children’s short lives at an earlier date and by recognising that life, could help in some small part in providing consolation to bereaved parents.
“I will continue campaigning on this matter and call for the reconsideration of current legislation at any restored Assembly.”
He added: “I am inspired by the strength of so many affected families who get through day to day and still find it in themselves to help others through this unimaginably difficult journey.”