Prevent Deaths from Preterm Births | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 08, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 08, 2016

Prevent Deaths from Preterm Births

Child Health Integrated Program

Newborns are one of the most vulnerable people, especially so when they are born prematurely. Prevention and management of preterm births are crucial to ensuring a safe and healthy start to life and a wise investment for our human capital development.

In Bangladesh, much is already being done to prevent preterm birth and low birth weight and to improve outcomes for small babies. Bangladesh can do a lot more to prevent preterm births by investing in interventions that reduce risks of preterm birth associated with lifestyle, infections and malnutrition during pregnancy, and lack of contraception. Improving the health and nutrition of adolescent girls and pregnant women should be another priority. More effort is also needed to identify women at risk of preterm labor and support them to give birth in a health facility that can offer extra care when needed.

Appropriate and timely care for women in preterm labor and care for babies born prematurely are also equally important. Let us ensure that women deliver in facilities with assistance from qualified staff, especially midwives or other skilled birth attendants trained to care for women in preterm labor and the provision of essential newborn care.

Caregivers must learn to identify sick and small newborns and provide them with special care such as skin-to-skin contact. Most of the babies born too soon do not need intensive care to survive. Essential newborn care, such as drying, warming, immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, hygiene and cord care, as well as basic care for feeding support, and management of infections and breathing difficulties can mean the difference between life and death for small babies.

It is high time that our society pays greater importance to ensuring a safe and healthy start to all babies, including the born too early and too small, so that they can build a healthy and productive future. 

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