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Feb 22

#PURPLE MONTH – Prematurity Awareness! MONTH – Prematurity Awareness!

THEME: Zero Seperation. Act Now!

Keep Parents and Babies Born Too Soon Together.

Prematurity refers to babies born before 37 completed weeks of gestation (9months) starting from the 1st day of the last menstrual cycle. They are also termed as ‘‘preterms’’ or ‘‘preemies’’, and can be classified as extreme preterm (<28 weeks), moderate preterm (<34 weeks), or late preterm >34 weeks).

Globally, about 15 million babies are born prematurely every year (i.e. more than 1 in 10 babies). In Ghana, about 140,000 babies (14% total live births) are born premature annually.

Prematurity and its complications are the leading cause of death in newborns and in children under 5 years in Ghana and across the world. Approximately 1 million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth. In TTH, it is the number one cause of admitting babies to the NICU and the leading cause of death in the unit.

The cause is unknown, however, there are risk factors associated with preterm births. This include; Pre-eclampsia, Multiple pregnancies, Placenta problems (placenta abruption, previa), Incompetent cervix, Previous history of premature birth, multiple miscarriages or abortions, Illicit drug, alcohol, and smoking during pregnancy, Small maternal age (adolescents), Infections (chorioamnionitis, lower genital tract, chlamydia infections, STIs), PROM, Chronic conditions (high blood pressure and diabetes)Stress, and Physical injury or trauma among others.

What can be done for a premature baby ?

It depends on the gestational age at birth, birth weight, and health state of the baby. It is important to keep mother and baby together via kangaroo care very early as much as possible unless otherwise. Preemies above 34weeks with no problems will need no hospitalization, but those less than 34 weeks as well as all sick preterms will require some assessment and treatment in the hospital. Other care needs include; adequate nutrition, hygiene, and family support.

How Can Prematurity be Prevented?

It is not always entirely preventable. Regular antenatal services (monitoring and tracking the progress of pregnancies) and dealing with problems of social deprivation, poor nutrition and substance abuse can decrease the risk of preterm birth.

#Purple Month Activities

  1. Media Engagements across the country
  2. Facility Presentations
  3. Health Talks at Antenatal Clinics
  4. Education at SDA hospital, ST Lucy hospital, Central and West Hospital