Petition to help tube fed children in New Zealand
A petition is being launched today, August 30, to help convince the government to bring in a special weaning programme for tube fed children.
Because of advances in modern medicine, there are a growing number of premature babies who go onto become tube fed children.
The tube feeding is only meant to be a short term solution but without the right help children can become dependent on the tubes and don’t learn to eat.
“We don’t actually know just how many of these children are here in New Zealand as these statistics aren’t available. However we believe it is in the hundreds, and we have heard of a child of 8 who still can’t eat and is fed by a tube.
“Each of these child cost tens of thousands of dollars to feed by tube each year. And it is a nightmare for parents, who can’t send their children to day care or have babysitters as they don’t know how to feed the children by tube,” says one of the petition organisers Dionne Harris, who has 18 month old tube fed twins.
The main objective of the petition is to initiate support in the health system to implement an intensive rapid weaning program, based on the Graz Method from Austria which has a 92% success rate.
“This would save our health system thousands of dollars in the long run and enhance the quality of life dramatically for these children who live attached to a feeding tube when they can and should be eating. I can spend up to 5 hours a day chasing my twin toddlers around the house to get food into their tubes,” says Ms Harris.