Health & Community

15 million Preterm Born Babies Worldwide Need A Strong Voice

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The World Prematurity Day (WPD) has been celebrated annually on November 17 since 2009 and is used to raise awareness of the burden of preterm birth globally and its associated challenges.

 

 

Premature babies are babies are “born too soon”, born before 37 weeks of gestation.

 

Preterm babies need a lot of support to enable them to live. They need a lot of support with breathing, feeding, keeping themselves warm and free from infections. This brings a lot of stress to the families and health workers caring for these babies.

 

 

 

Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five; each year, about 15 million babies worldwide are born prematurely, that is about 1 in 10 children.

 

 

 

On WPD several countries, organisations and networks around the world engage in different activities and events to show a commitment to action on addressing the problems associated with preterm birth. The theme for this year’s WPD is:

 

 

 

“Zero Separation. Act Now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together”

 

 

 

Separation between parents and babies can cause severe and long-term health and developmental issues in newborns and it also affects parents’ mental health. Therefore, we raise our voices on this year’s World Prematurity Day, uniting under the global call to “Act now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together”.

 

 

Also, as we “Countdown to 2030”, all countries must accelerate their collective efforts to reduce/end preventable newborn deaths.

 

 

 

 

This is especially important in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Central and Southern Asia where about 80% of the global neonatal deaths occur.

 

 

 

(1). Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest of this burden, accounting for 42% of deaths, the highest premature birth rate of 12% and the highest deaths due to complications of prematurity. In Africa, the situation is compounded by a high birth rate and a slower annual rate of reduction in neonatal mortality rates.

 

 

 

This would mean that without concerted efforts, almost 90% of countries in SSA will not meet the SDG target of reducing neonatal mortality to at least as low as 12 per 1000 live births by 2030.

 

 

 

In Zimbabwe Prematurity is the leading cause of death for children under 5years old. Today the Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe join the rest of the world in celebrating all premature babies who have made it. We salute the health workers and parents who have made this possible.

Dr G Chimhini
Neonatal Committee Paediatric Association of Zimbabwe

Robert Tapfumaneyi

1 Comment

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