Prematurity matters - we must act now

Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015
  • World Prematurity Day
    World Prematurity Day
Today is World Prematurity Day. Prematurity matters because babies born too soon are vulnerable to death or disability. Every year, one million babies die from preterm birth complications.

Those born early in low income settings are ten times more likely to die than in high income countries.

Over the last decades, real progress has been made in reducing child mortality and some in reducing maternal mortality but newborn mortality has been the most resistant to change.

If leaders are serious about reducing the number of newborns who die in their countries they will take prematurity very seriously. One in three newborn deaths is to preterm babies. Yet the solutions are now well known and relatively low technology. Why is progress so slow?

There are simple, relatively low cost interventions which World Prematurity Day seeks to celebrate. Getting solutions in to practice will not happen overnight. Change relies on knowing the scale of the problem, having evidence-based interventions, committed leadership, trained and supported health workers, and the everyday actions of individuals and communities.

Today, many countries are planning activities, including marches, workshops, posters and other activities designed to raise public awareness. Government organisations, NGOs, foundations, medical and public health institutions, charities and families are organising these events.

Our MamaYe campaign uses evidence to drive advocacy and accountability to save mothers and newborns across Africa. It has produced a range of materials to support those dedicated to making a difference today.  Visit the website to find out more and download the material.

Follow @OptionsinHealth and @MamaYeAfrica on Twitter to join the conversation.

Article originally published here.

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