News1 in 10 Babies Worldwide Born Prematurely, Urgent Action Needed: Lancet Study

1 in 10 Babies Worldwide Born Prematurely, Urgent Action Needed: Lancet Study

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In 2020, an estimated 13.4 million babies were born prematurely worldwide, accounting for approximately 1 in 10 live births, according to a detailed study published in The Lancet. The report, authored by experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, highlights the urgency of addressing preterm birth, which is a leading cause of child mortality and can lead to various health challenges in surviving children, including disabilities and chronic diseases in adulthood, such as diabetes and heart conditions.

Despite efforts to improve maternal health, no region in the world has significantly reduced preterm birth rates over the past decade. The global annual rate of reduction between 2010 and 2020 was a mere 0.14%. Sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia accounted for about 65% of preterm births in 2020, with countries like Bangladesh, Malawi, and Pakistan having significantly higher rates than Serbia, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

Addressing the issue requires not only better care for preterm infants but also increased focus on maternal health, nutrition, and quality antenatal care to detect and manage complications and accurately determine pregnancy dates. The Lancet study emphasizes the need for more investment in supporting preterm babies and their families and for enhanced prevention efforts in healthcare.

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