Promoting health through the life-course

World Prematurity Day 2016

In 2015, for the first time, the complications of preterm birth outranked all other causes as the world’s number one killer of young children. Of the estimated 6.3 million deaths of children under the age of 5 in 2013, complications from preterm births accounted for nearly 1.1 million deaths. These new findings, published in the Lancet and then publicized worldwide on World Prematurity Day on November 17, brought more attention and urgency to global initiatives to address preterm birth.

Premature birth is a very serious health problem. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm and more than a million die as a result. Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities.