As many of you are aware, there has been a lot of media attention about a “study” in Australia recently printed in The Lancet.
I’ve been terribly upset to read how this flawed study of an infant simulator-based programme that the authors associated with the Realityworks Real Care Programme and RealCare Babies has been portrayed in the press; the study had nothing to do with Realityworks in the US or Life Choice Ltd in the UK and nor are its conclusions credible.
The study used a programme developed by Australia’s Swan Hills Division of General Practice and the class time designated for teaching the programme was a mere 2.5 hours.
While this study was taking place, the Australian government introduced a maternity programme, or “Baby Bonus” to increase fertility rates and this bonus was seen as an incentive.
A lump sum of $3000 raising to $5000 was paid to families earning below $75,000 following the birth of a child. Not surprisingly overall teenage pregnancy rates for women aged 15-19 years rose significantly after years of decline. Before the Baby Bonus, the rates for this age group had fallen to an average of 4.5%. Following the Baby Bonus, the rates for this age group increased to 7.7% in 2005 and 13.5% in 2006.
This study NEVER mentioned the Baby Bonus and its potential impact on pregnancy rates!
Lastly, the 2 study groups were not matched. The group receiving the simulator curriculum came from a significantly poorer socio-economic group than the control group, making the impact of the Baby Bonus much more of an incentive to the girls.
So what does this mean for the UK? Customers who use the RealCare curriculum that comes with the RealCare Babies will know it spans 14 hours of teaching hours and involves multiple learning activities, discussions and a prolonged take-home weekend experience.
Teenage pregnancy rates in the UK have dropped consistently since the 1990’s and this is because there has been a joined-up programme incorporating schools, local authorities and the NHS working together to tackle the issue and educate young people. RealCare Babies have also played a part in this programme and the RealCare Infant Simulator Programme has received numerous awards and accolades from academic institutions.
A statement of efficacy can be read here:
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