Premature death of babies on the rise | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:31 AM, February 04, 2021

Premature death of babies on the rise

Finds USAID research

Despite significant strides over the past few decades, death of newborns remains a major issue which requires effective intervention, speakers at a discussion said yesterday.

Premature deaths are on the rise in the country, they said in an evidence sharing session at icddr,b --  jointly organised by USAID supported Research for Decision Makers (RDM) activity of icddr,b and Data for Impact (D4I).

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Referring to the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS), speakers said data showed a declining trend in newborn death until 2014. But the last BDHS 2017-18 report showed that the rate has bounced back.

The study showed 30 newborn children die in Bangladesh per 1,000 live births. Of this, 19 percent are premature births and low birth weight (LBW) combined. Dr Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman, associate scientist of icddr,b made the keynote presentation where he remarked that Kangaroo mother care (KMC) -- a method of care of preterm infants, is effective in preventing premature death, and considered as an easy and low cost intervention.

"But it involves time and effort from the families and health system to provide KMC to a child as it requires mother and baby's skin-to-skin contact for extensive hours and follow-ups," he said.

Speakers also stressed that in an ongoing pandemic, World Health Organization stated that with specific precautions, KMC does not put babies in additional risk of getting infections. Hence, it is very important to give proper attention to make KMCs and other interventions available and to ensure their use by promoting their benefits to families.

Chaired by Dr Shams El Arifeen, Prof Mohammad Shahidullah, president of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 and Dr Kanta Jamil, senior advisor at USAID-Bangladesh also spoke at the event.

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