Preterm birth a leading cause of death in newborns

WorldPrematurityDayPreterm birth, newborn babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is the leading cause of death in the newborns during the first month of life. It is also one of the major causes of child deaths under five years of age in the country.

Last year, nearly 1,500 babies were born premature in Bhutan. To respond to the increasing attention to serious and growing problem of preterm birth, the World Prematurity Day themed, “Tiny Socks, Big Dreams”, was observed, yesterday.

Babies born prematurely are more at risk than all newborns due to loss of heat, inability to take enough nutrition, breathing difficulties and infections.

Last year, more than 50 percent deaths of the babies within a month after birth known as neonatal deaths were preterm babies. Complications of preterm birth are the leading cause of neonatal deaths in the country.

Many survivors of preterm birth face a lifetime of disability like visual and hearing problems. As part of World Prematurity Day, Tshego initiative was launched. Under the initiative, small-sized hats and socks for preterm babies will be woven and distributed in all the Dzongkhags.

The Prime Minister also announced that a 150-bedded mother and child hospital will also be built soon.

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