Ending premature child deaths | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 20, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 20, 2016

WPD 2016

Ending premature child deaths

A full-term pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks, and “prematurity” describes when a baby is born earlier than 37 weeks. Prematurely born babies face many problems, which can include breathing difficulties, feeding difficulties, and low birth weight.

The World Prematurity Day (WPD) was on November 17, 2016. Globally WPD observation started in 2011. The day is a key opportunity to generate attention onto the leading cause of deaths of children under 5 — complications from pre-term birth accounted for more than 1 million child deaths in 2016.

In Bangladesh, estimated 438,600 premature babies are born each year and this year estimated 23,600 will die. Bangladesh remains one of the top ten countries in the world with the largest number of premature deaths. Prematurely born babies generally need special care in hospital but unfortunately most of them in Bangladesh are born at home. Without a major push to reduce these deaths, it will not be possible to reach the Global Goal (SDG 3) endorsed by 194 countries including Bangladesh, to end all preventable newborn and child deaths by 2030.

While World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to call attention to the heavy burden of death and disability and the pain and suffering that pre-term birth causes, it is also a chance to talk about solutions. Bangladesh has made some major decisions in preventing the problem. Policy endorsement and incorporation in the Promise Renewed declaration was a key intervention for Ending Preventable Child Death by Ministry of Health in 2013.

Technical subgroup on Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) formed by National Technical Working Committee on Newborn Health developed the national KMC guideline, training module, job-aids and monitoring including Health Management Information System (HMIS) tools.

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