Malawi Joins World in Commemorating International Prematurity Day

22 November 2019

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is Friday November 22 commemorating the World Prematurity Day under the global theme 'Born too soon; Providing the Right Care; at the Right Time and in the Right Place'.

Secretary for Health and Population, Dr. Dan Namarika, says in a statement made available to Nyasa Times that the theme resonates well with the global report on 'Survive and Thrive; transforming care for every small and sick newborn' which was launched at the World Health Assembly in Geneva that calls for provision of quality care, affordable services to mothers and newborns.

"The theme also calls upon all stakeholders, including health institutions, health care providers, development partners and the general public to take holistic actions to ensure the survival and welfare of children who are born prematurely or with low birth weight," said Namarika.

The ministry, therefore, appeals to all stakeholders and the general public to find and implement means for reducing morbidity and mortality associated with prematurity and low birth weight.

"Premature and low birth weight babies have the potential to grow healthy and become productive citizens," Namarika pointed out.

World Prematurity Day is commemorated every 17th of November but Malawi shifted it to November 17.

According to a world survey, Malawi tops the list of 10 countries with the highest rates of premature births per 100 live births.

World Prematurity Day is a global reminder that preterm birth is a serious health problem and a major cause of infant morbidity and mortality worldwide.

Malawi is rated at 18.1 preterm births per 100 births as confirmed by Dr. Grace Chiudzu, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology .

About 1 in 10 babies is born premature every year, out of a total 15 million preterm births.

The first international awareness day for preterm birth on 17 November was created by European parent organizations in 2008. It has been celebrated worldwide since 2011.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 'Preterm' is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed.

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