World Prematurity Day (WPD) is recognized each year on November 17. It has been eleven years since it’s initiation by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). Designed to act as a reminder of the human and financial costs of premature births around the world, the theme this year is one that is often the goal of medical quality improvement experts, health care administrators, payers, and medical professionals throughout the United States: “Born Too Soon - Providing the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”
As we again honor World Prematurity Day on November 17th, we must also acknowledge the problem is still growing. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that the average rate of preterm birth (birth prior to 37 weeks gestation) has increased for the third year in a row. The preterm birth rate has increased from 9.6% to 9.93% between 2016 and 2017. As a result, the March of Dimes Premature Birth Rate Report Card gives the United States a disappointing grade of “C”.
Prematurity is the leading cause of death worldwide in children under five years of age. This vulnerable population is at an increased risk of long-term health problems such as: cerebral palsy, developmental delay, breathing difficulties, blindness and hearing loss.
November 17th is World Prematurity Day. At ProgenyHealth, our mission is to improve outcomes for this vulnerable population. Prematurity (birth prior to 37 weeks gestation) is the leading cause of death worldwide in children under five years of age. Here are a few facts illustrating why prematurity remains at the forefront of population management agendas.