After two years of being hosted by the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland (QNIS), the Healthier Pregnancies, Better Lives Programme is moving to a holding space with HPBL partner, Cattanach, who will support Coalition members in deciding on the next steps.
This initiative, which was initially supported by QNIS, in partnership with Cattanach and The National Lottery Community Fund, was set up to identify and build upon the earliest opportunities to improve the life chances of women, their partners, and their children. The emphasis is on increasing preconception health, education, and care – so that the choice to avoid, delay or properly prepare for pregnancy becomes part of the fabric of Scottish society. See: @HPBL_Scot
The Healthier Pregnancies, Better Lives programme, under the gifted leadership of Dr. Jonathan Sher, has built a successful coalition of over 80 health professions, organisations, Queen’s Nurses, and distinguished individuals who are all committed to taking meaningful action to support better reproductive and child health. By working together, HPBL Coalition Partners are seeking to bring about lasting change in knowledge, policy, practice, and behaviour.
The programme has also focused on raising awareness of serious, preventable neurodevelopmental conditions, especially Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and how to take earlier action to help people already living with them. In addition, HPBL has been advocating for the UK Government to implement fully effective fortification of staple foods with folic acid (Vitamin B9) to prevent neural tube defects.
Clare Cable, Chief Executive and Nurse Director of QNIS said: “We are hugely proud of all that Jonathan and the Healthier Pregnancies, Better Lives programme have achieved in helping to prevent harm, prepare prospective parents for pregnancy, and improve life chances. QNIS will remain an active partner in the HPBL Coalition by continuing to encourage and support community nurses and midwives to identify opportunities to make a positive difference before a woman’s first or next pregnancy.”
Sophie Flemig, Cattanach Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Cattanach is clear that prevention is our only chance to avoid unnecessary suffering, and we are delighted to be able to support the HPBL Coalition as it gathers strength and prepares for the next step in its evolution. We hope HPBL’s work can help engage everyone in an empowering and respectful dialogue about pre-conception health – whether they are planning to have children or not. As an active HPBL partner ourselves, we are looking forward to going on this journey alongside such fantastic organisations, and we are grateful to Dr. Jonathan Sher for bringing us all together. The time for change is now.”