Importance of World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day

“Every year about 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world….”

The department of Neonatology at Sri Ramakrishna Hospital celebrates world prematurity day on 17th November 2020. Tucked away at the back end of the hospital working silently and efficiently, we tend to come to the fore at this time to bring focus to our work with preterm babies via posters, newspaper articles, workshops, and topping it up with meeting some of our smallest babies and their families. This is our way of bringing the attention of the public and hospital administration to be aware of the challenges in preterm birth and the care provided by NICU.

This day helps to revisit all the little BIG success stories of the year to inspire us to do better and to give hope to families not to be affected by preterm birth.

Every year, about 1 5 million babies are born prematurely around the world and that is more than one in 10 of all babies born globally. India accounts for a quarter of all preterm births in the world. Prematurity is the most common cause of global neonatal deaths, almost up to a million per year.

Prematurity is a preventable cause of infant death. Many preterm babies are saved with institutional delivery, antenatal steroids. basic resuscitation, skin-to-skin care, and infection control practices. The more preterm the baby, the higher is the level of care required to save and send the baby to parents. This is where our NICU which is one of the few tertiary care centers in the city comes in. We have saved babies who were just over 600 gm at birth and 24 weeks of gestation.

Over the last few years, we have been constantly upgrading our unit to meet the global standards in neonatal care. Our survival rates of even extreme preterm babies (babies born at < 28 weeks of gestation) are at par with most western centers. About 80 -90% of babies born at 28 weeks survive and a majority of those born at borderline viability (at 24-25 weeks) also go home safely. The perception among many people is that even if these babies survive, they will ultimately have disabilities. Though there is a definite risk of neuro disability, the rates are far less compared to the data of the past few years For example, we have less than 1% with neurological impairment out of hundreds of preterm babies who came under the care of our NICU in the last 5 years. Many of our preemies are class toppers and multitalented and may turn out to be scientists in the future. Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Stevie Wonder were all born prematurely. This proves that developmental care focuses on protecting the brain of preterm babies from harmful extrauterine stimuli prevents major damage.

Apart from high technology which is vital to save these small babies such as volume guarantee ventilators, high-frequency oscillators, nasal CPAP machines, inhaled nitric oxide therapy we have invested great time and effort in creating an excellent nursing workforce. Our committed neonatal nurses take great pride in their work and balance gentle nursing all the while providing intensive care.


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