According to Born too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth, around 15 million babies in the world i.e. more than one in 10 births are born preterm. Regrettably, the report, which was released today by The March of Dimes Foundation, Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Save the Children and The World Health Organization, points out that India has the maximum number of premature babies the total number of which accounts to 3,519,100; the figure sums up to almost 24% of the total preterm babies in the world.
It has been noted that about a million of the 15 million babies prematurely succumb shortly after their birth while countless other babies suffer from some type of permanent physical, educational or neurological disability. Joy Lawn, M.D., PhD, co-editor of the report and the Director of Global Evidence and Policy for Save the Children’ Saving Newborn Lived program, being born prematurely or too soon is an unrecognised killer and that preterm births represent about half of all the newborn deaths that occur worldwide, is the second leading cause of death in children below 5 years after pneumonia and six times more than the child deaths that occur due to AIDS.
The figures in the report show a great disparity in the magnitude of problems between countries. According to the report, from a total of 11 countries with preterm rates over 15 per cent, all but two are in sub-Saharan Africa; 60 per cent of preterm babies are born in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Despite of the wide disparity, preterm birth is a global concern. Brazil and United States rang among the top 10 countries that have the high preterm birth rates. About one in 9 of all births or 12 percent of the all births are preterm in the United States.
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