By Doh James Sonkey
In prelude to the commemoration of 13th edition of World Day for the fight against premature babies on November 17, 2023 on the theme ‘‘Small action big impact, immediate skin to skin care for every baby everywhere,’’ health experts say urgent measures need to be taken to prevent and take care of premature babies in Cameroon.
Dr Belyse Ngum of UNICEF said studies have revealed that 3 out of 10 babies die due to prematurity linked complications in Cameroon. She added that close to 1 million out of 15 million new born die each year in the world. Close to 90 percent of premature babies born in countries of weak revenue die during the first days of their lives against 10 percent in countries of high revenues. More than 60 percent of premature new born survive in Africa and Saoudi Arabia.
The Minister of Public Health, Dr Manaouda Malachie has issued a press release informing the general public that Cameroon in communion with the International Community will be commemorating from November 1 to 30, 2023 the month of prematurity.
To that effect, a workshop was organized at UNICEF country office in Yaounde last November 7, 2023 to brief media professionals on the problem of prematurity in Cameroon.
Official opening the workshop on behalf of UNICEF, Dr Koudio Leonard told media professionals to treat the information seriously ‘‘because at the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund, UNICEF, each child matters and must be protected.’’
The Public Health Centre Regional Delegation official, Dr Ndam Gnigninanjouena stressed that each new born has the right to life. A premature baby is a child like the other children.
A Public Health Nurse, Madam Kameni enumerated the advantages of skin to skin for prematurity baby that ‘‘the kangaroo mother care facilitates breast feeding, reduces stress from mother, helps to limit infections etc.’’
She said the month of prematurity which is observed since 2008 under the colour of violet and the general objective is to arouse interest for the implication of all actors for better care taking of prematurity babies.
Because prematurity constitutes a major public health problem in Cameroon, health professionals have decided to sensitize and inform the population at large on the prematurity challenge in the country.
Prematurity is defined as a baby born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Other terms used are preterm and preemie.