From the Momentum Waikato Annual Report 2023 - see full report in PDF.

In 2022 the Prime Minister’s Science Prize went to a multidisciplinary team at the University of Auckland doing world-leading research into abnormal blood-sugar levels in newborns, work partially funded by a small Waikato trust that has been quietly supporting the critical care of premature and sick babies for nearly forty years.

The Waikato Sick Babies Trust was set up in 1983 by Head Newborn Unit Pediatrician Dr Tony Cull and a group of supporters to help fund the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Waikato Hospital, which Dr Cull had established three years earlier.   

The Trust’s Chair is Jane Pope, a veteran Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in the NICU.

“I’ve seen huge progress in prem baby medicine. Now we can better support babies’ lungs and breathing, through antenatal steroids for lung maturity and surfactant for breathing. We support and monitor the brain growth and development and carefully look after their skin and nutrition, it has all progressed.

“It is a never-ending journey of learning. Now and then we think it might be all understood, but it doesn’t last long,” said Jane.

A training exercise in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Waikato Hospital.

In recent years most of the Sick Babies Trust grants have been going into training nurses and support staff, as that demand is the most immediate.

In November 2022 the Trust moved to diversify and grow its income by setting up Waikato Sick Babies Trust Fund with Momentum Waikato.

Transferring a portion of their investment fund to Momentum Waikato diversified the Trust’s portfolio, while taking advantage of the scale of the community foundation’s regional endowment and public-facing role.

“The Waikato Sick Babies Trust Fund is about continuing to support excellence into the future,” said Jutta van den Boom, the Head of Department at the Waikato Hospital NICU.

“We would certainly welcome the public donating to the Waikato Sick Babies Trust Fund at Momentum Waikato.”

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