Katrine Conroy is BC Minister of Children and Family Development.

Katrine Conroy is BC Minister of Children and Family Development.

Funding helps rural parents and babies

Letter from Kootenay West MLA, Minister Katrine Conroy

Further to your Nov. 15 article “Premature baby program to expand across B.C.,” I’m honoured that my first funding announcement as Minister of Children and Family Development was for Kangaroo Mother Care, which supports the health and wellness of preemies and their parents.

Around 70 per cent of mothers who give birth to premature babies suffer from post-partum depression, compared to 15 per cent who suffer after giving birth to full-term infants. Early intervention through Kangaroo Mother Care promotes skin-to-skin contact, which reduces post-partum depression, stabilizes the baby’s temperature, and enhances maternal-child attachment.

This program is especially important for hospitals in rural and remote areas like the Kootenays, where parents often have to travel for several hours to get to the nearest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Being a new parent is exciting and exhausting, and it is difficult and stressful for families of preemies to be miles away from the comforts of home. Kangaroo Mother Care provides low-tech solutions that help parents and babies bond.

Parents will be able to learn these skills at NICUs and then use the skills once they return home. For many, this program will mean they can get home earlier than they would otherwise be able to, which is another huge benefit.

My ministry’s investment will help provide training and equipment for B.C. hospitals of all sizes by 2020.

Katrine Conroy

Minister of Children and Family Development