Over one million prematurely born babies die each year

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Premature baby

Fifteen million babies globally are born prematurely each year and one million of them die, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Yet, the agency adds, 75 per cent of these children could be saved without expensive, high technology care.

WHO says that more than half of the world's pre-term babies are born in Southern Africa or Asia.

Dr. Elizabeth Mason is the Director of the WHO's Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health.

"Pre-term baby means that they are born alive before 37 weeks of completed pregnancy and with pre-term babies they are more vulnerable to infection. They have more problems with breathing. They can also suffer other complications particularly they are more prone to have, if they survive, developmental problems as a child. Of these 15 million, one million babies die every year." (Duration: 28")

Dr. Mason says there are many simple measures that can save the babies' lives, including giving a steroid that costs less than a dollar to the mother who has gone into pre-term labour before the baby is born.

The other example is what is called Kangaroo Mother Care, which is putting the baby skin to skin on the chest of the mother to keep the baby warm and allow access to breast-feeding.

World Prematurity Day, observed on 17 November this year, is highlighting these effective low-cost measures to save babies' lives.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’33″

Filed under Today's News.
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