World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17 each year. It aims to raise awareness about the issues associated with preterm birth.
Premature birth is a very serious health problem. It is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. Babies born too early may have more health issues than babies born on time, and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision. World Prematurity Day on November 17 raises awareness of this serious health crisis. WHO produces guidelines, tools and evidence-based recommendations to help prevent and care for preterm babies.
- extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks)
- very preterm (28 to 32 weeks)
- moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks).
Induction or caesarean birth should not be planned before 39 completed weeks unless medically indicated. (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION)
- Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 completed weeks of gestation), and this number is rising.
- Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2015.
- Three-quarters of them could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions.
- Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born.
- Up to 75% of deaths of preterm babies are preventable.
- Inequalities in survival rates around the world are stark. In low-income settings, half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks (2 months early) die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.