Posted by News Express | 21 November 2021 | 619 times
Prof Chinyere Ezeaka, Head Newborn Unit, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), has revealed that Nigeria is the third highest number of preterm babies in the world.
She disclosed this while speaking at the World Prematurity Day 2021 titled ‘Zero separation. Act now! Keep parents and babies born too soon together, advocating for more people to act and reduce the rate of preterm babies in the country.
According to statistics, these are the following countries with the greatest numbers of preterm births, India – 3,519,100; China – 1,172,300; Nigeria – 773,600; Pakistan – 748,100; Indonesia – 675,700; United States – 517,400; Bangladesh – 424,100; Philippines – 348,900; Democratic Republic of the Congo – 341,400; and Brazil – 279,300.
According to Ezeaka, some of the causes of having preterm babies are poverty, teenage pregnancy, poor nutrition, high blood pressure, multiple births, heart conditions, etc.
She said, “Famous people like Albert Einstein, Sir Issac Newton, Charles Darwin and more were preterm babies, what am I trying to say? These preterm babies have potentials, so if we take appropriate care of them, they would be future leaders, Presidents, future noble prize winners.
“What needs to be done? The key is prevention. Community education, identifying high risk pregnancy, etc. but when it is inevitable that these babies have to be delivered as a preterm, the mother and child should be refers to a center where they can be taken care of,” she said.
She also advised and urged parents and hospitals to apply Kangaroo mother care in taking care of preterm babies, as this bonds the mother/father and child together.
President Pediatric Nurses Association, LUTH, ADNS Imoukhuede, further stated that having a preterm baby is not a death sentence for the child, as with adequate facilities, the child will survive.
“I had two preterm babies, but now they are all grown up and doing well,” Imoukhuede stated.
Mrs Ibekwe, a mother of quadruplets who were born at 32 weeks, weighing 1.4kg, 1.6kg, 1.6kg, and 1.7kg respectively, appreciated the doctors and nurses for their help which made her children survive.
According to her, at first she had challenges in feeding them and giving them drugs.
“I had challenges in feeding them; they would bring out food their nose. Even when I give them their drugs, one of them would choke on the drugs. I stayed in the hospital from August – December, 2020 when I first had them but now they are doing fine.”
A photography and media company, Studio 24, partnered with LUTH and launched a national newborn advocacy group ‘Purple Hearts’ to create more awareness about preterm babies.
NEST 360 Team Nigeria also supported the programme by donating newborn training equipment to the university hospital.
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