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One of the most effective ways to improve children’s health is to support new mothers to breastfeed their babies. Breastfeeding has lifelong health benefits for babies, protecting them from infections such as gastroenteritis and reducing the risk of diabetes, respiratory disease, hypertension and obesity later in life.

However, breastfeeding rates in the UK are among the lowest in Europe, especially in deprived regions. In our experience, many new mums would like to breastfeed, but find it is not easy or comfortable, and they may not receive support from their community.

At Liverpool Women’s Hospital, 4,500 mothers a year give birth in the maternity wards and are shown how to care for their new baby. Breastfeeding positioning dolls are used to demonstrate how to position a baby at the breast. Using this teaching method gives encouragement to new mums who may be reluctant or unsure how to breastfeed, and brings their baby all the benefits of breast milk.

The team at Liverpool needs more of these dolls to cope with the current demand for training new mums, but with budgets stretched to their limits, there is no funding available for them. The positioning dolls cost £21.99 each and we would like to provide 18 dolls for the hospital at a total cost of £395.82.

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“Infections of the central nervous system need urgent and appropriate treatment. Most laboratory methods can take from 24 to 48 hours for diagnosis of bacterial meningitis and three to seven days for diagnosis of viral meningitis or encephalitis. The new equipment will mean we can get results of these tests in around an hour. We’ll be able to inform the clinicians of a positive result, allowing targeted therapy and reassurance to the patients and families. Just as important is the reporting of negative results, which may enable treatment withdrawal and possibly a shorter hospital stay.”

Dr Pradeep Subudhi
Consultant Microbiologist
Royal Bolton Hospital

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