World pre­ma­tu­rity day ob­served with the theme of work­ing to­gether with fam­i­lies of small and sick new­borns

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Sonam Pen­jor

To cre­ate aware­ness on the preven­tion and man­age­ment ef­forts of pre­ma­tu­rity and pro­vide sup­port to fam­i­lies with preterm ba­bies, the world pre­ma­tu­rity day was ob­served yesterday.

The day is ob­served on 17th of Novem­ber ev­ery year and the Novem­ber month is called “Pre­ma­tu­rity Aware­ness month.”

The theme is “Work­ing to­gether: Part­ner­ing with fam­i­lies in the care of small and sick new­borns.”

The Di­rec­tor for De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health un­der the Min­istry of Health, Dr. Karma Lhazeen said that World Pre­ma­tu­rity Day presents a unique op­por­tu­nity to bet­ter un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics of preterm births and at the same time preven­tion and man­age­ment ef­forts. This can be well un­der­stood through the per­spec­tive of high bur­den of un­der­five mor­tal­ity ma­jor­ity of which is con­tributed by neona­tal deaths.

The Di­rec­tor added that 56 per­cent of un­der-five deaths are con­tributed by neona­tal deaths. And the an­nual neona­tal au­dit re­view shows around 40 per­cent of neona­tal deaths are con­tributed by con­di­tions as­so­ci­ated with pre­ma­tu­rity.

“Al­though the cause of preterm births is yet to be fully un­der­stood, ev­i­dences around high risk fac­tors for preven­tion preterm births have been es­tab­lished. This means that the preterm births are in part pre­ventable na­ture.”

Some of the risk fac­tors in­clude sub­stance abuse in­clud­ing al­co­hol and to­bacco, ado­les­cent preg­nan­cies, hy­per­ten­sive dis­or­ders among oth­ers. There­fore, in­vest­ment is preven­tion ef­forts such as ad­vo­cacy pro­grams are nec­es­sary to cre­ate aware­ness among the gen­eral pub­lic health, said the Di­rec­tor.

In adding that, Di­rec­tor said that the re­duc­tion of

new­born mor­tal­ity is one of the fo­cused pri­or­i­ties of the Min­istry of Health in the 12th Five-Year Plan. Thus, con­certed ef­forts have been put in, in terms of preterm man­age­ment such as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Early Es­sen­tial New­born Care and Kan­ga­roo Mother Care.

There­fore, it is ev­i­dent that bet­ter out­comes of preterm care are re­al­ized when both the par­ents and care providers work to­gether in the spirit of part­ner­ship.

Dr. Karma said that they would, there­fore, like to pledge to work to­gether in co­or­di­nated ef­forts to pro­vide op­ti­mal care the preterm while at the same time fo­cus­ing on preven­tion ef­forts at the institutional and com­mu­nity lev­els.

Tsh­er­ing Dema, a young mother of a child born preterm ex­pressed her grat­i­tude to the staff of Kan­ga­roo Mother Care (KMC) and Jigme Dorji Wangchuck Na­tional Re­fer­ral Hos­pi­tal (JDWNRH) for the care and sup­port pro­vided to her and her child. She said that she never thought her baby would sur­vive as the birth weight of her baby was just 700 gram. She added that now her baby's weight is in­creased to 3kg. Now her baby is healthy and she is happy.

She said that hos­pi­tal's staff es­pe­cially who works in the KMC guided her to care her child when she goes back to her home. “Be­cause of the en­cour­age­ment made to me by the health work­ers, now I am happy with my child.”

The health sec­re­tary Dr. Ugen Do­phu said that the day presents a unique op­por­tu­nity to un­der­stand the bur­den of pre­ma­ture births, how we can work to­gether to pre­vent and in­ten­sify the ef­fort for bet­ter care for new born.

He added that pre­ma­ture birth is of­ten ac­com­pa­nied by com­plex chal­lenges fac­ing both the par­ents and the child while at the same time, it de­mands skill health pro­fes­sional and in­fra­struc­ture to man­age them ef­fec­tively.

“Pre­ma­ture births are the num­ber one killer of ba­bies in Bhutan. About 1,380 preterm birth ev­ery year in Bhutan.”

The health sec­re­tary added that what we can do to pre­vent and man­age preterm birth is an im­por­tant ques­tion for con­sid­er­a­tions. Al­though the cause of preterm birth is not yet fully un­der­stood, how­ever, preven­tion for risk fac­tor such as pre­vi­ous preterm birth, mul­ti­ple preg­nan­cies, med­i­cal com­mis­sion, and preg­nancy in ado­les­cence have been es­tab­lished. There­fore, preven­tion of preterm birth should be ad­dressed at home, an in­di­vid­ual and com­mu­nity level.

World Pre­ma­tu­rity Day ob­served on 17 Novem­ber 2018 with the theme “Work­ing to­gether: Part­ner­ing with fam­i­lies in the care of small and sick new­borns.”

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