World Prematurity Day 2012

Background

Hundreds of associations, societies, professionals, private sector organizations and individuals have come together to mark the second ever World Prematurity Day on 17 November 2012 with events and activities in nearly 50 countries, bringing attention to the global challenge of premature birth. Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal mortality and now the number two cause of child mortality globally—a major hurdle to reducing the number of children who die before their fifth birthday.

On 2 May 2012, the launch of Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth presented first-ever statistics on the growing global tragedy of preterm babies, bringing a new wave of support to this important issue (Link to Report on your right). Based on 2010 figures we now know that prematurity is the second-leading cause of death in children under the age of five, after pneumonia; that 15 million babies are born too soon every year, or before 37 completed weeks of gestation; and that 1.1 million preterm babies die every year.

Born Too Soon was a collaboration between nearly 50 international, regional and national organizations, led by the March of Dimes, PMNCH, Save the Children and the World Health Organization. The report set in motion a global movement to promote progress on preterm birth in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. At the time of the report's launch, 30 new and expanded commitments specific to prevention and care of preterm birth were also announced -- commitments which have now become part of the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, joining more than 200 existing commitments in support of the Every Woman Every Child effort. (Link on the right.)

The first World Prematurity Day on 17 November 2011 was a collaboration among the March of Dimes, the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) representing parents in 20 European countries, Africa-based Little Big Souls International Foundation, and the National Premmie Foundation of Australia.

Inside this special section on World Prematurity Day find more information on this critical issue for child survival, what partners are doing and how to get involved.

Join the Movement

Here are some ways you can support World Prematurity Day:

  • Use the #WorldPrematurityDay and #BornTooSoon hashtags to join the global conversation on Twitter;
  • Use the #WorldPrematurityDay hashtag to join a round-the-world “tweet chat” hosted by partners in different cities to have your questions answered by preterm birth experts and innovators on 16 November 2012;
  • “Like” World Prematurity Day on Facebook, where you can put a face on the problem of premature birth by posting a photo and story to an interactive map connecting people around the world.

Global Week of Action

This year World Prematurity Day also falls within the first ever Global Week of Action for child survival: from 13-20 November this campaign, spearheaded by PMNCH board member World Vision, will bring people together across the globe to raise their voices against the unacceptable number of children dying before their fifth birthday from preventable causes. Use the #Survive5 hashtag to join the global conversation on Twitter.

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