Parties back family’s Strep B screening calls

Baby Hollie Maguire passed away after contracting a Group B Strep infection.
Baby Hollie Maguire passed away after contracting a Group B Strep infection.
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A cross-party group of high-profile Northern Ireland politicians have backed calls from the parents of a girl who died from a bacterial infection for pregnant women to be tested.

Hollie Maguire died shortly after her birth at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast on 26 October 2016 from congenital pneumonia, caused by a ‘group B Strep’ bacterial infection.

At the close of the inquest on 5 June 2019, Hollie’s parents, Brendan Maguire and Susan Maguire from Dunmurry, warned other mothers-to-be to take a simple test for the bacteria.

Now, a letter signed by DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan, Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew and Alliance leader Naomi Long has been sent to chief medical officer Dr Michael McBride and the permanent secretary of the department of health at Stormont Richard Pengelly.

In it, the politicians call for more testing of expectant mothers.

Hollie’s father, Brendan Maguire, said: “I’m so pleased to see the political parties united in support of group B Strep screening.”

Mr Maguire also said: “Nothing can bring Hollie back, but if Northern Ireland introduced routine screening, other babies like Hollie would be protected and other families wouldn’t have to go through the heartbreak we have.”

Around one-in-four pregnant women carry the group B Strep bacteria.