Around the world, 15 million babies are born premature every year and one million will not survive. Shockingly, prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under five, but just like here in the UK, other countries are seeing significant improvements in the health and survival of premature babies due to family-centred care.
Kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) is a primary source of care in many countries where incubators are not readily available. Babies are wrapped close to their mother's chest for most of the day to help regulate their temperature and establish breastfeeding.
In lower income countries, improved maternal care, and support for mothers, are recognised as key in increasing the survival rate of premature babies.
Turkey's neonatal survival rates rose significantly after implementing several recommended health care initiatives, including providing support such as acocomodation to parents who had to travel to visit their baby.
Despite the highest global rate of prematurity, Malawi is on track to gain the Millenium Developmental Goal for child survival, in part due to the very high uptake of kangaroo care.
In the UK, Bliss provides training for health professionals to promote parental involvement in a baby's neonatal care. This can improve outcomes for premature babies.
This feature is part of the latest issue of Little Bliss. The magazine is packed with interesting features and real life stories from the neonatal unit and beyond, including:
- An interview with Lisa, a Family Care Sister in Southampton, who shares how it feels to be the first unit to receive a Bliss award for exceptional care
- A guest blog from mum, Danielle, who shares the guilt of prematurity. She shares her advice for remembering that a premature birth is not your fault
- Parent-to-parent advice - parents share their creative tips for being on a neonatal unit with your baby
Read the latest issue of Little Bliss or order a printed copy at bliss.org.uk/little-bliss