Premature birth endangers over 15M babies annually
Every year, roughly 15 million babies are victims of premature births
Premature birth is defined as birth before 37 weeks in the womb. 1.1 million babies die world wide due to premature birth and its health dangers, making it the second-leading cause of death for children under the age of 5.
'I was born in a bush hospital with no running water and no electricity. I was a little bit pre-term, and my mother had a very complicated labor,' Dr. Lawn said, who was born in rural Uganda. 'I survived because people shouted for me, and you know, still that same hospital- no running water, no electricity. This is still a reality.'
"A baby born very pre-term, less than 28 weeks, who is born in America has a more than 90 percent chance of survival. And if that same baby was born in Africa where I live and work and spent most of my life, that baby would have less than 10 percent chance of survival," Dr. Joy Lawn, co-editor of the report and the Director of Global Evidence and Policy at Saving Newborns Lives at Save the Children.
Nearly two-thirds of premature births happen in countries throughout Africa and southern Asia, due to high rates of adolescent pregnancies and infections, including malaria and HIV. Twins and triplets conceived using fertility treatments and C-section deliveries account for nearly 500,000 premature births annually in the U.S.
Simple solutions that don't cost much, such as keeping babies warm through skin-to-skin contact of Kangaroo Mother Care, have the potential to save an estimated 400,000 babies or more. Also giving mothers prenatal steroids and stressing the importance of breastfeeding can save thousands more, according to Lawn.
"We believe there's a huge number, 80 percent of the 15 million babies born too soon, were less than two months too soon," Lawn said. "They really are not born to die, they can survive and we can change that."
Even if children are born prematurely, that doesn't mean they have to die. Lawn and her colleagues at Save the Children have made a goal to save the lives of 1 million babies by 2025. She also hopes that American mothers will represent other mothers in other countries who are in need of support and education.
"I would like to challenge the moms of America to be a voice for moms who aren't able to speak up," she said.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: premature, birth, baby, babies, health
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