By Christa Davis
Each year, 15 million babies are born premature throughout the world, and over a million of them don’t survive. In fact, preterm birth is the number one killer of children under five worldwide.
The good news is that most of these lives can be saved with access to information, simple care methods and low-cost interventions.
On November 17, World Prematurity Day, our Every Preemie Program hosted a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss partnerships and initiatives targeting preterm birth around the world.
Panelists included representatives from USAID, Johnson & Johnson, March of Dimes and the Saving Newborn Lives network.
In addition to the panel discussion, Congressman Scott Peters provided remarks on the importance of maternal and newborn health in the U.S. foreign policy agenda.
Speakers emphasized the impact of partnerships and innovation to catalyze change in newborn health, as well as the power of simple interventions and investing in prevention and care, to end preventable newborn deaths.
The event also launched our Every Preemie Program’s country profiles that highlight current national-level information on the status of preterm birth and low birth weight in 23 target countries. The profiles share related risk factors for preterm birth as well as the coverage of important reproductive, maternal and newborn health care.
“This landmark data serves as a call-to-action to country level stakeholders. We are confident that the data will be used to catalyze dialogue and a prioritization of solutions around preterm birth and low birth weight,” said Judith Robb-McCord, Director of Every Preemie-SCALE.
The release of this information is essential for government leaders, civil society groups, health workers, and communities to come together to end preventable newborn deaths. Together, we will continue make a difference for families worldwide by ensuring their babies get the critical care they need to live healthy lives.
The Every Preemie program, a USAID funded partnership, is working in 23 target countries around the world to ensure that ministries of health, hospitals, community clinics, and caregivers have the best information and know the latest interventions to save premature babies.
Christa Davis is PCI’s Development and Marketing Coordinator.