March of Dimes releases Global Action Report on Preterm Birth

The March of Dimes has released its most recent report on preterm birth, entitled Born Too Soon.  Read the full report here; more information including maps and posters, is here.  From the March of Dimes, a description of the report:

Born Too Soon provides the first-ever comparable country-level estimates for preterm birth in 184 countries. The report shows that preterm birth rates are on the rise in most countries, with the result that preterm birth is now the single most important cause of neonatal deaths (babies under 28 days) and the second leading cause of death in children under 5.

Addressing preterm birth is now an urgent priority for reducing child deaths by 2015 and beyond. This report shows that rapid change is possible and identifies priority actions for everyone.

This inspiring report is a joint effort of 45 authors from 11 countries and almost 50 international organizations that have committed to specific accountable actions in support of strengthening prevention and care. The report, with the co-sponsorship of the March of Dimes, The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health, Save the Children and the World Health Organization, supports the Every Woman Every Child movement, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Born Too Soon proposes actions for policy, programs and research by all partners — including government and non-government organizations and the business community — that, if acted upon, will substantially reduce the toll of preterm birth, especially in high-burden countries.

The report contains a foreword by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and is accompanied by more than 30 new commitments to prevention of preterm birth and the care of premature babies, joining more than 200 existing commitments on www.everywomaneverychild.org.

15 million preterm births each year and rising

1.1 million babies die from preterm birth complications

>60% of preterm births occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

5 to 18% is the range of preterm birth rates (per 100 live births) across 184 countries of the world

75% of deaths of premature babies could be prevented with feasible, cost-effective care

15 countries account for two-thirds of the world’s preterm births

1.    India
2.    China
3.    Nigeria
4.    Pakistan
5.    Indonesia
6.    United States of America
7.    Bangladesh
8.    Philippines
9.    Dem. Rep. of Congo
10.  Brazil
11.  Ethiopia
12.  United Republic of Tanzania
13.  Uganda
14.  Sudan
15.  Kenya