|2015 World Prematurity Day Philippines. (Modified screenshot: UNICEF Philippines videos, see below).|
Preterm babies are prone to serious illness or death during the neonatal period. Without appropriate treatment, those who survive often face lifelong disability and poor quality of life. Complications of prematurity are the single largest cause of neonatal death and currently the leading cause of death among children under 5 years. Global efforts to further reduce child mortality therefore require urgent actions to address preterm birth. With this, the World Health Organization released its recommendations on interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes.
According to WHO, "the primary audience for this guideline includes health-care professionals who are responsible for developing national and local health-care protocols and policies, as well as managers of maternal and child health programs and policy-makers in all settings. The guideline will also be useful to those directly providing care to pregnant women and preterm infants, such as obstetricians, pediatricians, midwives, nurses and general practitioners. The information in this guideline will be useful for developing job aids and tools for pre- and in-service training of health workers to enhance their delivery of maternal and neonatal care relating to preterm birth."
Download the complete guidelines or the document's highlights prepared by the WHO.
UNICEF Philippines advocates for Kangaroo Mother Care
UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander explains what can be done to address this problem: regular check-ups for pregnant mothers, skin-to-skin contact after birth, and early and exclusive breastfeeding can improve survival rates of prematurely born babies.
Simple interventions like skin-to-skin contact can help increase the chances of survival for premature babies. Listen to Raquel and Jodee as they share their story of giving birth to premature twins, and how they're caring for them through Kangaroo Mother and Father Care.