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Global Goals for Health Cannot be achieved without Reduction in Preterm Births and Child Deaths.

Islamabad -- As Pakistan observes the 7th annual World Prematurity Day, a strong commitment towards reducing the number of preterm births in the country is imperative to progress towards global goals for health and wellbeing.

An estimated 860,000 premature births are recorded each year in Pakistan of which nearly 102,000 children die due to related complications, says UNICEF. Pakistan is ranked second among the top ten countries that account for nearly two-thirds of all deaths from preterm birth complications

Preterm births are one of the leading causes of death of children under five years of age. Globally, fifteen million babies are born before time each year and over 1 million children die before their fifth birthday.

UNICEF in partnership with the Government of Pakistan is supporting efforts to reduce child morbidity and mortality. One initiative towards that end is the establishment of a Kangaroo Mother Care model at a public hospital in Lahore where special care is provided to the preterm new-borns. Kangaroo Mother Care is a technique used to keep the new-born warm and support breast feeding.

Good hygiene care can help prevent multiple infections while early initiation of breast feeding within the first hour can particularly help prevent deaths. The facility will also serve as a training resource centre to build the capacity of other Health Care providers and scale up similar initiatives in other provinces,' she adds.

On the World Prematurity Day, UNICEF emphasises that the reduction in premature births and child deaths can be achieved by strengthening health policies and services, as well as improving access and care for mothers and new-borns. Although notable achievements have been made in the health sector, a lot more is needed in terms of quality of care for women and new-borns.

An important aspect of prevention of preterm birth is adequate maternal nutrition which is critical for foetal development. Women with low Body Mass Index or low pregnancy weight gain are at increased risk for preterm birth. There are other proven low-cost interventions that are especially effective for preterm babies.

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Publication:The Frontier Star (Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Nov 18, 2017
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