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