Today is World Prematurity Day! Initiated in 2008 by EFCNI – the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants, this celebration aims to raise awareness about the burden and challenges of being born prematurely.
When a baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation, they often experience health complications. These complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, globally. As stated by the WHO, every year 15 million babies are born prematurely, requiring specialised round the clock care in hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs).
The global theme for World Prematurity Day 2021 is:
Zero Separation. Act now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together
In the NICU, the nursing hands of the parents and the medical staff are a way of caring and providing love. Like babies born at full-term, premature babies also need the comfort that comes from contact with others. Human contact can provide a healing and calming effect on premature babies; however, our hands are also a way of bringing bacteria into the NICU. Because premature babies are more susceptible to infections, it is imperative that our caring hands are not the agents that bring in the bacteria that could threaten the well-being of these vulnerable babies.
NeoIPC, a new research collaboration funded by the European Union, was established for this very reason: to reduce the transmission and infections with hospital bacteria in newborns by assessing the safety and effectiveness of simple, low-cost interventions.
About the World Prematurity Day, visit the EFCNI website