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World Prematurity Day - Give Them a Fighting Chance

World Prematurity Day - Give Them a Fighting Chance

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  • World prematurity day is observed on the 17th November across the world to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by these babies and their families in taking care of them
  • Complications due to prematurity are one of the main causes of death in children below five years; a majority of these deaths can be prevented by proper care and treatment
  • Prematurity or preterm birth refers to a baby being born before the mother completes 37 weeks of pregnancy

The first ever international awareness day for preterm birth was established in 2008 by parent organizations in Europe. World Prematurity Day began to be observed as a dedicated event on the 17th November since 2011 and has now grown into a global annual feature.

Diverse groups including parents and families, health professionals, hospitals, politicians, and organizations observe this day with media campaigns, themed events, fundraising and other activities to bring about awareness about this little-known condition among the general population. In 2013, WPD was observed in more than 60 countries.


Raising Awareness about Preterm Births

  • Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to post and share pictures and messages about preterm births and its challenges using the hashtag #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday
  • Change your profile picture to the World Prematurity Day theme to raise awareness about this event among friends and get them involved in spreading the message
  • The purple ribbon is the symbol of World Prematurity Day and the color can be used in several ways to spread awareness - wearing a purple dress, lighting up your home or office in purple, create purple themed gifts such as mugs, tee shirts, pins, and several more and sell them on social media and donate the proceeds to fund World Prematurity Day campaigns
  • Making personal or corporate donations to the cause of World Prematurity Day
  • Organize fundraising events in the community such as walks, or sporting events and create awareness about preterm births
  • Display messages about preterm births and associated hardships in prominent locations such as malls and parks
  • Organize radio and television shows with experts discussing preterm births and its challenges
  • Hospitals and clinics should offer free advice to women about the risk of preterm births and prevention. Pregnant women especially must be counseled on measures to reduce risk or prevent preterm births
  • Governments should enable healthcare facilities to all irrespective of socioeconomic status or location. Every baby should be provided a fighting chance

Preterm Births - Key Facts

  • Baby is born before mother completes 37 weeks pregnancy
    • Extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks)
    • Very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)
    • Moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks)
  • Rate of preterm births is between 5 to 18% across 184 countries and the gap in survival is wide in low income and high-income countries
  • In low-income regions, nearly half the babies born before 32 weeks die due to a lack of basic care such as warmth, lack of breastfeeding, timely treatment of infections and respiratory difficulties
  • In middle-income countries, inadequate use of resources results in the survival of babies with varying degrees of disability affecting brain, lungs, vision and hearing.
  • Survival of preterm births in high-income countries is excellent
  • Cesarean section delivery or induction of labor should not be planned before 39 weeks of gestation except for medical reasons

Preventing /Managing Preterm Births

  • Regular antenatal care of pregnant women and counseling on proper diet and nutrition, avoiding smoking, tobacco and other substance abuse
  • Women at risk of preterm births such as those with hypertension or diabetes during pregnancy should be carefully monitored throughout pregnancy to prevent preterm labor
  • Women at risk of going into preterm labor should be given steroid injections to improve the lung function of the babies
  • All women should have access to contraception to space between successive pregnancies and reduce the risk of preterm births
  • Preterm babies should be given kangaroo mother care (the baby should be carried by the mother with skin-to-skin contact and regular breastfeeding)
  • Access to health care of preterm babies and treatment of infections promptly with antibiotics and provision of supportive care to reduce or prevent complications
Let us all join hands on this World Prematurity Day to raise awareness, and educate about babies born too soon

References :
  1. Wikipedia - World Prematurity Day - (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Prematurity_Day)
  2. Preterm birth - (http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preterm-birth)
  3. World Prematurity Day - (https://www.marchofdimes.org/mission/world-prematurity-day.aspx)
  4. What is World Prematurity Day? - (https://www.bliss.org.uk/support-bliss/world-prematurity-day/what-is-world-prematurity-day)

Source: Medindia

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