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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) is the leading cause of preventable mortality in New Zealand infants. Māori and Pacific infants have consistently higher rates of SUDI compared to non-Māori and non-Pacific infants.

SUDI is the unexpected death of an infant under one year of age. SUDI is a collective term that is used when the death is initially unexplained but may be found to be caused by high-risk conditions after extensive investigations.

The Ministry commissioned research in 2020 to better understand the reasons behind the number of babies dying from SUDI and identify improvements to the Ministry-led National SUDI Prevention Programme (NSPP). The NSPP is the latest iteration of SUDI-prevention initiatives.

Kia Puawai recommends a complete refresh of the NSPP design that:

  • embeds Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and kaupapa Māori and Pacific based principles in its design
  • is designed in partnership with Māori and in collaboration with Pacific whānau and health leadership
  • brings together national governance and local level delivery of the programme services into a single framework
  • integrates the programme into grassroot communities (eg, marae, Kohanga Reo).