Today, on the occasion of the World Prematurity Day, and in the coming days, Doctors with Africa CUAMM is organizing various trainings and awareness-raising initiatives on the topic, involving doctors and health professionals to share experiences and good practices.
Every year, 15 million children are born prematurely in the world, more than one out of ten children, 2,5 million dies during the first month of life. Preterm birth is among the leading cause of infant deaths under five. Still, premature birth is not the same all over the world: in Africa it is a double challenge that forces to deal with limited resources and hospitals often unprepared to welcome a preterm baby. Until recently, the concept of “neonatal care” did not exist in Africa and Neonatology wards are just a recent reality. The few skilled human resources available to the hospitals had no experience with young patients. Therefore, in this context, being born premature often meant not surviving. Today, however, things start to change: the attention and care towards the newborn are improving, as well as the presence of Neonatology wards in hospitals, although training and resources need to be further strengthened.
We renew our dedicated commitment to maternal and child health that we promote through our projects in the eight African countries in which we operate and in particular through the “Mothers and children first. 1,000 days” program. This day is not only an opportunity to draw attention and raise awareness on the topics of preterm birth, child survival and development, but it is also an important chance to talk about concrete solutions.
Taking care of premature babies means first and foremost taking care of and supporting their families, supporting health workers by providing them with all the resources they need to better manage their young patients, and not least being committed to strengthening health systems.
Because taking care of the children, especially premature babies, means “taking care of the future”.