Amplifying Voices 

Securing a confidential enquiry into the deaths of Asian and Asian British babies

“This should be one of the safest countries in the world in which to have a baby – but the statistics make clear we’re a long way off that goal. It’s vital more is done to find out why babies from minority ethnic and socio-economically deprived backgrounds are at higher risk of dying before, during, or shortly after birth.” – Ksavi Joshi, Sands Ambassador

The Campaign

In the UK, Black babies are twice as likely to die than White babies. Asian babies are 1.6 times more likely to die. In 2021, the Government announced a confidential enquiry into the deaths of Black and Black British babies yet they were hesitant to run a mirroring enquiry into the deaths of Asian and British Asian babies.

Sands launched a campaign calling on the Government to urgently fund such an enquiry. It reached out to Asian families who may have experienced baby loss and gave them a space for their concerns and stories to be heard. Ksavi, a Sands Ambassador whose son Shivai died unexpectedly in 2015, used her platform to support the call.

Sands supported families’ efforts by encouraging supporters to contact nearly 400 MPs. It also met with MPs, wrote to Ministers, drafted parliamentary questions, and ensured the issue was picked up in national media.

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awards

432 – infographic showing the number of Black and Asian babies lives that would have been saved in 2019, if their risk of dying was the same as White babies

Being shortlisted for a SMK National Campaigner Award is an incredible honour for Sands. We are incredibly thankful for SMK recognising the importance of raising awareness about pregnancy and baby loss, especially within the Black and Asian communities where families are disproportionately affected. The Amplifying Voices Award helps shine a spotlight on crucial work to ensure no bereaved family is overlooked, inequalities are addressed, and lives are saved.” – Kate Mulley, Director of Research, Education & Policy at Sands

awards

432 – infographic showing the number of Black and Asian babies lives that would have been saved in 2019, if their risk of dying was the same as White babies

We are incredibly thankful for SMK recognising the importance of raising awareness about pregnancy and baby loss, especially within the Black and Asian communities where families are disproportionately affected. The Amplifying Voices Award helps shine a spotlight on crucial work to ensure no bereaved family is overlooked, inequalities are addressed, and lives are saved.” – Kate Mulley, Director of Research, Education & Policy at Sands

The Change

In March 2022, the Government announced a confidential enquiry into Asian and Asian British baby deaths. Importantly, it will report at the same time as the confidential enquiry into the deaths of Black and Black British babies. This was a huge win – real headway will be made in ensuring that lessons are learnt, and preventable deaths are avoided.

These types of enquiries are crucial in saving lives and driving down maternal and perinatal death rates. In-depth reviews of medical case notes provide solid recommendations to transform the way care is provided. Sands estimates that, had stillbirth and neonatal death rates for Black and Asian babies been the same as for White babies in 2019, 432 fewer babies would have died in England and Wales. So, together, both enquiries will shine a light on the care of mothers and babies from Black and Asian communities and have the potential to prevent hundreds from dying.

Asian families will be helped to learn more about why their babies fell through the gaps in the healthcare system and prevent it from happening to other parents and families in the future.

The Future

Findings from both confidential enquiries will be published in December 2023 and Sands will stay in touch with the enquiry teams to make sure recommendations are implemented.

Sands is also running a Listening Project alongside the enquiry, which will gather experiences of bereaved families from a Black and Asian backgrounds. This is crucial, as the formal enquiries will be reviewing medical notes only. The Listening Project will allow families to have a voice and share their individual stories, creating a legacy for their babies and ensuring that the experiences of families are also captured.

Who else was involved?

KSAVI – Shetal Joshi, or KSAVI, is a Sands ambassador who is a bereaved parent. KSAVI was involved in helping the campaign reach a wider audience, especially those also from Asian communities, and encouraging people to take part in the campaign by emailing their MP. She also supported a campaigner in attending a face-to-face meeting with their MP to speak about the need for a confidential enquiry and how they can help.

KSAVI’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ksavijoshi/