“No mother deserves to lose her unborn or newborn child even when such babies are born prematurely”.
This was the consensus of stakeholders who came together in Lagos to mark the 2017 world prematurity day e as experts linked high death-rates of pre-term babies mostly to failure of pregnant women to attend antenatal clinics regularly.
Speaking at the event sponsored by founder, Abiye Maternal and Child Health International Foundation (AMCH) Dr. Elizabeth Disu, at least a million babies die annually from complications arising from being born too early.
Disu a Consultant Pediatrician noted that prematurity is one of the leading cause of newborn deaths in the world.
According to her, “Prematurity is the most single important cause of new born death and 15 million preterm babies are delivered worldwide, out of which one million die; but three quarters of those deaths are preventable and most of these deaths are in the developing countries”.
Disu regretted that out of all the deaths recorded worldwide, Nigeria has the highest number of preterms and newborn deaths, 37:100.
Disu listed some of the conditions that cause babies to arrive early to include poor nutrition of mother, infections, placenta problems, genetic reasons among other uncertain causes.
She however noted that if strategies to save lives of preterm babies are improved upon in maternities and more pregnant mothers access antenatal services more of such babies will survive and we will be able to reduce the rate of neonatal death in this country.
According to Disu, the World prematurity day was celebrated worldwide to bring awareness about babies that were born too sudden and before the 37 weeks of gestation or pregnancy, adding that these babies often develop special problems and needs and could end up with disability if not properly managed.
The Consultant Pediatrician also pointed out that babies born too early have more health issues than those on time adding, preterm babies may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision.
She called on government to ensure categorization of institution, both the private and public hospitals, saying that this would help most premature babies to survive.
She enjoined mothers to attend ante-natal care, mothers, feed well and not to do heavy jobs when pregnant, and when ill, they should seek prompt medical attention.”
Also speaking, Prof. Omotunde Sagoe, Professor of Primatology, described prematurity as both a happy and sad situations because the babies come out of the womb before the duration.
“Many of them come out dead and many also come out alive”,said Shape.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris represented by head, Maternal and Prenatal Deaths Surveillance and Response unit, Victoria Omoera said government was doing all it could to ensure reduction of preterm babies in the state.
Idris, said “we need to support the programme, we want our mothers and children to survive and that is why we are here to support the programme. We need to build up the capacity in terms of personnel to take care of these babies.”