Premature babies can be saved – Sylvia Masebo

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AS Zambia today joined the world in commemorating the 2023 World Prematurity day today, Health Minister, Sylvia Masebo noted that children born prematurely can be saved through adhesion and collaborated spread of information by society.

World Prematurity Day is an annual Commemoration that falls each year since 2008 on November 17, with this year, the day is being celebrated under the theme, “Small actions, Big Impact: Immediate skin-to-skin care for every baby everywhere.”

In Zambia, every year, we lose an estimated 36,000 babies before they reach their 5th birthday. And over 40 per cent of them, about 16,000 babies, die in the first 28 days of their life. Preterm is defined as babies born alive before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed.

However, to celebrate a day that addresses such an important concern in human life preservation, Masebo said the country acknowledges its impact on families and the elevated morbidity and mortality among children under the age of five years.

She said this day should provoke every stake holder to commit to fostering awareness, supporting small yet impactful actions, and collectively working towards a world where every baby, regardless of gestational age, can thrive.

“The theme for 2023 serves as a moving reminder of the impact that small actions, such as Kangaroo Mother Care and endorsed care practices by the World Health Organization, can have on the well-being of preterm and low birth weight babies.

“Our dedication to addressing prematurity is not merely a duty; it reflects our commitment to the overall well-being of our nation. The significance of immediate skin-to-skin care, commonly known as Kangaroo Mother Care, cannot be overstated. It transcends the physical connection between a parent and their newborn baby; it encompasses emotional bonding,” said Masebo.

Masebo further added that the launch serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of addressing prematurity and its impact on vulnerable babies.

This is through collective action and small, yet impactful measures, that can make a difference and improve the lives of preterm babies everywhere.

Masebo said there is need in commemorating this day’s various activities through discussions on community radios across the nation, as she called on all health community volunteers, equipped with skills and information to stand ready to reach out to communities with Kangaroo mother care if premature babies are to be saved.

“I urge all of us to unite in implementing simple yet effective actions, such as immediate skin-to-skin care, for every baby born too small or prematurely,” Masebo said.

By Buumba Mwitumwa

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