World Prematurity Day 2022
Preterm birth is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five
Hanoi, 17 November 2022 – Today marks World Prematurity Day, an opportunity to raise awareness on preterm birth challenges and shine a light on the risks and impacts faced by preterm infants and their families.
Preterm birth is the leading cause of death among children under the age of five. Every year an estimated 15 million babies (about 1 in 10 children) are born prematurely worldwide. Viet Nam reports around 60 percent of infant deaths as neonatal deaths.
On World Prematurity Day 2022, UNICEF is promoting the Kangaroo Mother Care method under the theme – “A Parent’s embrace: a powerful therapy. Enable skin-to-skin contact from the moment of birth.“ Kangaroo Mother Care is a simple, free action taken immediately after birth to place the baby in the mother’s and later the father’s arms with skin-to-skin contact, which has extraordinary physical and mental health advantages for baby and parents. This method is particularly crucial in the care of preterm or low birth weight infants though continuous and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a parent. Benefits of the Kangaroo Mother Care method include a reduced risk of neonatal mortality by 40 percent, improved thermal regulation, infection prevention, breastmilk let-down, as well as facilitation of physiological, behavioural, psychosocial, and neurodevelopmental effects.
UNICEF Viet Nam works with the Ministry of Health to scale up newborn lifesaving interventions accross the country. “Our focus is on saving newborn lives, ensuring lifesaving interventions are practiced in all corners of Viet Nam. To achieve this, we support the health sector to develop national action plans on children’s healthcare and scale up interventions that contribute towards child mortality reduction,“ explained Maharajan Muthu, UNICEF Viet Nam Chief of Child Survival, Development and Environmental Programme.
This approach includes working on guidelines on newborn and preterm/low birth weight infants care, training health workers and community workers on international best practices in this area, and reaching families and communities with relevant information about the care and nutrition of newborns and premature babies. “It is great news that around 100,000 babies in seven provinces have benefited from UNICEF-supported programmes providing early essential newborn care and Kangaroo Mother Care this year, as reported by the Maternal and Child Health Department of Ministry of Health,“ informed Muthu.
Despite great achievements, the challenges faced by preterm babies and their families are not sufficiently known by the public and World Prematurity Day is an opportunity to highlight recommended practices for every health worker and parent to further reduce neonatal mortality, including enhanced
 World Health Organization, Children: reducing mortality,19. September 2020,
 Survey Measuring Vietnam Sustainable Development Goal Indicators on Children and Women 2020-2021, December 2021. Viet Nam SDG indicators on Children and Women Survey 2020-2021
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about COVID-19, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam/covid-19
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/vietnam