800, 000 babies born prematurely in Nigeria annually — Experts

By Chioma Obinna

As the world on Wednesday marked this year’s Prematurity Day, experts have called for massive awareness on preterm babies, lamenting that over 800, 000 premature babies are born in Nigeria annually.

Speaking in Lagos at an event to mark the day, they urged the Nigerian government to include women and children in its free health services as a way of encouraging particularly pregnant women to attend antenatal clinics as well as deliver in health facilities.

Speaking, the Chief Operating Officer, Obijackson Children’s Hospital Okija, Dr Chinwe Muomalu, preterm babies are underreported but presently about 15,000 million are born globally annually.

Stating that preterm babies remain a challenge in Nigeria, she identified poverty and lack of awareness as major factors fuelling the problem, adding that,   a lot of people don’t even understand what the challenges of preterm delivery is.

“If we want to reduce under-5 mortality in Nigeria, then we really need to look at the preterms because 30 percent of the under-5 mortality comes from that preterm breed.”

He stressed the need for every woman who is pregnant to attend antenatal care, in good places.

“Things like hypertension, diabetes, malaria, are common causes of babies coming out too soon, so if we are able to take care of these things, then I think somehow we will make an end road into preventing preterm babies.”

She further stressed the need for government to include mothers and children in free health services.

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