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Worldwide 1 in 10 children are born preterm

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On World Prematurity Day, Dr Megha Consul, Principal Consultant, Pediatrics, Max Hospital, Gurugram talks about premature birth in India

Prematurity brings with it a unique set of challenges for parents and medical caregivers alike. Premature birth is a serious medical problem pertaining to the fact that babies born too early are vulnerable to more number of health ailments than those born after complete gestation.

It is estimated that around 15 million babies are born preterm every year worldwide. Prematurity is also a massive problem in India with an estimated 3,519,900 children born premature and contributing to make India’s under 5 mortality one of the highest in the world.

Pre-conceptional health of women, healthy pregnancies and high-quality treatment and care from the moment of birth, plays an important role in determining outcomes. Increased coordination of neonatal healthcare, from prevention to family-centered developmental care and aftercare services, are crucial in India to deal with the increasing problem of prematurity.

Dr Megha Consul, Principal Consultant, Pediatrics, Max Hospital, Gurugram said, “Urgent policy action in this field is needed to improve access and quality of healthcare for this vulnerable population. There is an urgent need to introduce data collection, and coordinated neonatal health and social policies, to promote high quality standards for prevention, treatment and long-term care, and to support greater research, training and education in this regard.”

World Prematurity Day on 17 November is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth globally. The day was initiated by EFCNI and partnering European parent organizations in 2008 with more than 100 countries joining hands to help address preterm birth and improve the situation of preterm babies and their families.

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