The importance of consumer engagement

The Every Week Counts – National Preterm Birth Prevention Collaborative strongly believes in the power of partnering with healthcare consumers to work together to help reduce the rate of preterm birth and early term birth in Australia.


The importance of consumer advocacy and representation in the National Collaborative cannot be overstated and has been a foundational pillar of the establishment of the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance.


Dr Natasha Donnolley is the Alliance’s Consumer Representative, a perinatal researcher, and a mother with experience of preterm birth.


Natasha has been involved in maternal and perinatal consumer representation for over 17 years and has extensive experience in supporting women and families as well as providing advice and direction to governments and NGOs alike.


A Consumer Lead has also been employed by Safer Care Victoria as a part of the National Collaborative project team delivering the program of work.


Maria Bradshaw, who will be undertaking the consumer lead role, will be supported by a Consumer Advisory Group including consumers from around Australia with a diverse range of experiences, cultures and perspectives.  These consumers will bring not only their own first-hand experience of preterm or early birth but also links with other consumer advocates and organisations.


This ensures a strong parent voice is present in all of the National Collaborative’s work as well as dissemination of the results and findings to the parenting community.


While prevention is the ultimate aim of the Every Week Counts: National Preterm Birth Prevention Collaborative, not all preterm births can be avoided. In these cases parents and families may benefit from the support of others who have walked in their shoes already. The National Collaborative look forward to partnering with the many wonderful consumer organisations around Australia that provide support for families experiencing preterm birth.