Care for premature babies around the world

Posted on December 02, 2016

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 or premature babies due to family-centred care.

Bliss is a member of the World Prematurity Network, a global coalition working together to raise awareness and prevent premature birth in our countries.


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. Read the latest issue of Little Bliss or order a printed copy at bliss.org.uk/little-bliss