25 years ago today Group B Strep Support was founded by parents Jane and Robert Plumb, six months after their baby Theo died aged 17 and a half hours from group B Strep infection. The picture shows them with their firstborn, Oliver, holding baby Theo.
Jane, now our Chief Executive, says, “It was a dreadful time, made worse by there being no information available for us – and plenty of misinformation. When we found out most of these awful infections were preventable, it made us determined to stop it from happening to others. 25 years later, that’s what we’re still doing.
“There’s been so much progress and improvement over the years. The UK now has guidelines on preventing GBS infections in babies, public awareness of group B Strep has steadily increased, more research is being done into stopping GBS infections, and testing for GBS is offered to some pregnant women within the NHS.
“However, there’s still more to do. In the UK, two babies a day develop GBS infection, one baby a week dies, and another survives with disability. Our research shows that hospitals don’t properly follow clinical guidelines on GBS, the right testing for GBS is often not used, and new and expectant parents remain underinformed about GBS. Most importantly, babies are still suffering from GBS infections that could and should have been prevented.
“Robert and I are so grateful for everyone who has supported the charity over the last 25 years. But we don’t want the charity to need to be here in another 25 years – we want to have eradicated GBS infection in babies, and closed down.
We need your continued support as we move into what we hope will be the final phase of the charity – with routine screening on the horizon, and a GBS vaccine likely in the next decade – where we will be able, once and for all, to drive change and stop these awful infections in babies.”
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