Lady Harris visited the Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre in Liverpool to see how a £1 million Harris-Wellbeing research grant continues to help preterm babies and their mothers today.
Lord and Lady Harris of Peckham, who have supported Wellbeing of Women for 30 years, established the Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre at the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust in 2015.
The grant has funded preterm birth research, support for pregnant women and families, and public education about preterm birth for five years. Lady Harris met with staff and families whose lives have been changed thanks to the Centre’s programme of research to improve understanding of the causes of preterm birth and what can be done to prevent it.
During the visit Lady Harris met with patients being monitored for twin births at the Fetal Medicine Unit, a clinic run by Dr Andrew Sharp, Professor Alfirevic, the Clinic Manager (Jackie Holian) and Midwives (Claire Coonan and Jennifer Robinson).
Researchers from the Centre gave brief presentations about their achievements since the last visit and their research and its impact to date. They also provided details of ongoing collaborations and soon-to-be published research findings.
Finally, a number of nurses and midwives in the Neonatal Unit updated Lady Harris on the Trust’s new building project, the Low Dependency Baby Unit, and the new on-site parent accommodation.
Professor Alfirevic said: “We were delighted to welcome our donor Lady Harris once again to the Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Centre to meet the staff and families whose lives have been changed by our support. Our goal at the Centre is to help develop a personalised approach to risk assessment for women who are pregnant and have had preterm birth in a previous pregnancy. We also need a personalised approach to effective and safe treatments.
“During the visit we were proud to introduce Lady Harris to the researchers and staff helping us to achieve these goals and provide an update on our ongoing research projects.”
Wellbeing of Women Chief Executive, Janet Lindsay, said: “60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year; many of these babies don’t survive, and those that do are often left with life-long disabilities. That’s why investing in research in this area is so vital. We are incredibly grateful for Lord and Lady Harris’ continued support for the prevention and treatment of premature birth. The Harris-Wellbeing Centre has saved the lives of hundreds of precious babies and positively impacted hundreds of families. It was an honour to hear about the pioneering work, and meet with the patients whose lives have been changed.”