The world health organisation (WHO) considers preterm birth as babies born at less than 37 weeks of a 40 week term. Babies born much early at less than 25 weeks are extremely preterm and although healthy in the womb, often die when they are born early because of the immaturity of their lungs, heart and kidneys. These babies fall through the cracks when it comes to active healthcare and many hospitals are unable treat them because of their extreme prematurity.
The scale of the problem
The scale of the problem is huge with an estimated 270,000 infants born in the world each year making this a truly global problem. 70% of these infants die and survivors have a high risk of death before the age of 5 or will endure months or years of rehabilitation due to prematurity related complications. Compared to babies born after 28 weeks, extremely preterm babies are especially vulnerable to prematurity related health conditions that include, blindness, severe learning impairment, cerebral palsy, lung damage and heart disease.
The costs are high.
The emotional toll on parents watching their little ones suffer in hospital with no end in sight cannot be overstated. The lucky few that make it home undergo ongoing treatment that in many cases leads to significant financial burden to families.
The time has come for a new way forward for the tens of thousands of infants born extremely preterm. Your donation can make a difference right now by helping to fund research that will give these infants a precious beginning.