World Health Organisation celebrates World Prematurity Day on November 17 annually. It aims to raise awareness about the issues associated with preterm birth. It also spreads information about how to help and support affected families.
Every year, 15 million babies are born prematurely. World Prematurity Day is a key moment to focus attention on the leading cause of child deaths under age 5; complications from preterm birth – which account for nearly 1 million deaths each year (UNICEF).
What Is Prematurity?
Medically, the term prematurity refers to the birth of a baby less than 37 weeks after the mother’s last normal menstrual period (gestational age). It is also known as preterm birth or premature birth.
Families Need Support
This year the theme of World Prematurity Day is: “Working together: Partnering with families in the care of small and sick newborns”.
Despite continuing advances in the medical treatment of preemies, they have a higher mortality rate than babies born at a later stage of the pregnancy. Premature infants are also at a greater risk of having a number of disorders and diseases.
In addition to the specific health and developmental requirements of preemies, the parents and family members of prematurely born babies often need emotional and psychological guidance.
World Prematurity Day is celebrated as an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of pain, suffering, disability and death that preterm birth can cause, as well as a chance to talk about solutions.
1. Kangaroo Mother Care
It is a method of taking care of babies who weight less than 2 kg.
It includes breastfeeding in addition to skin-to-skin contact and support for the mother-infant dyad.
The WHO document Kangaroo mother care: a practical guide provides guidance on how to organize services in health facilities and on what is needed to provide effective Kangaroo Mother Care.
The service is paving its way to clinics.
2. Midwife care
The organisation share positive and successful stories of mothers under the midwife-led continuity of care (MLCC) models.
Midwives who are working together provide.
Midwife-led continuity of care to a woman, newborn and her family throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal continuum.
The model is quite a success for mothers reducing the risk of prematurity by around 24 per cent.
MLCC requires a well-functioning midwifery programme and should be provided by midwives who are educated, trained, licensed, and regulated.
Access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care, either at the health facility or through transport to a referral centre, is prerequisite.
3. Individual clinical care
WHO issues guidelines for the people who take care of preterm infants.
The guidelines include interventions provided to the mother – for example steroid injections before birth, antibiotics when her water breaks before the onset of labour, and magnesium sulfate to prevent future neurological impairment of the child, as well as interventions for the newborn baby – for example thermal care, feeding support, (e.g. kangaroo mother care, when babies are stable), safe oxygen use, and other treatments to help babies breathe more easily.
The goal of the day is to encourage people to support families, mums especially, with sick and small new born babies.