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World Prematurity Day. Photo: Healthy Newborn Network

What is World Prematurity Day?

World Prematurity Day on 17 November is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth globally. The day was initiated by EFCNI and partnering European parent organisations in 2008, according to Miracle Babies.

Meanwhile, countless individuals and organisations from more than 100 countries join forces with activities, special events and commit to action to help address preterm birth and improve the situation of preterm babies and their families. 2020 sees over 170 organisations highlighting World Prematurity Day.

History of World Prematurity Day

World Prematurity Day was created on November 17, 2011 to raise awareness for the millions of children every year who are born prematurely. While technologies and medical procedures in America have increased over the years, preterm babies still carry a huge vulnerability to develop cerebral palsy, delays in development, hearing problems, and sight problems.

Additionally, while neonatal death in the United States is low in comparison to most of the world, premature births account for a quarter of all neonatal deaths.

That’s part of the many reasons why World Prematurity Day was created – to shine a light on the risk and hardships created by premature births, cost-effective and proven solutions, and spreading compassion for families who have experienced premature births, as said from National Today.

That being said, many premature babies grow up to completely healthy individuals, with some even becoming notable public figures such as Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein.

Highlighting the Premature Birth of 15 million Babies Each Year Worldwide

Every year, 15 million babies are born premature worldwide. More than one million of these babies die, and many more face serious, lifelong health challenges. Preterm birth is truly a problem that can happen to every one of us, irrespective of the country we live in, our culture or socioeconomic status.

Worldwide, one in ten babies are born too early – more than 25,000 each year in Australia alone. Giving birth to a child is one of the paramount, most positive experiences in life. Having a baby born too soon is a significant trauma for families. Preterm birth also represents a severe financial burden for many families and our often struggling healthcare systems.

Raising awareness of preterm birth is the first step to defeating it: Preterm birth rates could be significantly reduced and lowered through overall information and improved treatment and care.

November 17 is World Prematurity Day, a globally celebrated awareness day to increase awareness of preterm births as well as the deaths and disabilities due to prematurity and the simple, proven, cost-effective measures that could prevent them.

Miracle Babies Foundation Founder Melinda Cruz said “this worldwide issue is a huge challenge here in Australia with over 27,000 families each year affected by prematurity. This flows on to have a high impact on each and every local community and chances are you or someone you know has experienced the trauma of having a baby born too soon. We all have a role to play in the support of these families and the always improving healthcare provided by our hospitals.”

Everything to Know about World Prematurity Day
Photo: Neonatal Care Academy

Global 2020’s Theme: “World Prematurity Day 2020, Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future”.

This year’s messaging focus lies on:

  • Supporting families

  • Supporting healthcare professionals

  • Strengthening healthcare systems

Things You Can Do to Support World Prematurity Day

- Participate in the live Twitter Chat on 16 November 2020, 9.00 – 10.00 AM EST. For your tweets, use the Hashtag #WDP20Chat.

- Visit facebook.com/worldprematurityday to share your World Prematurity Day experiences and plans within your networks.

- Download social media resources, and share social media links among your networks, using #WorldPrematurityDay20.

- Submit a blog to HNN telling your story of transforming care for small and sick newborns: [email protected].

- Go purple! by wearing purple, lighting your home or office purple, light a purple candle in your window, cooking purple meals, or coming up with your own ways to turn the world purple in support of prematurity awareness. Share on social media with #WorldPrematurityDay2020

- Hang up a sock-line with 9 white baby socks and one smaller purple baby sock as a symbol to raise awareness for prematurity and share on social media with #WorldPrematurityDay2020.

- Take the Kangaroo Mother Care Challenge and post photos on social media using #KMCchallenge.

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