Over 60 percent of preterm births worldwide occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Of the fifteen million (15MILLION) babies born too early each year, more than one million (1MILLION) die due to complications related to preterm birth. Low birth weight (newborns weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth), due to prematurity and/or restricted growth in utero, is also a major contributor of newborn and child deaths, as well as disability and non-communicable diseases globally.

2/3 (two thirds) of preterm births occur in Sub Saharan Africa. That is more than 60% preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia.

12% of babies are born too early in the lower income countries as compared to 9% in the higher income countries. Within countries, poorer families are at higher risk.

There is a dramatic difference in survival of premature babies depending on where they are born. 90% of extremely preterm babies (less than 28weeks) born in low income countries die within the first few days of birth life.

Yet less than 10% of babies of the same gestation period die in high income countries setting.

In low-income settings, half of the babies born at or below 32 weeks (2 months early) die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective care, such as warmth, breastfeeding support, and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties. In high-income countries, almost all of these babies survive.

1 out of 4 preterms die due to birth related complications. . Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age, responsible for nearly 1 million deaths in 2015.

Three-quarters of them could be saved with current, cost-effective interventions. Most countries in Africa do not have adequate facilities to save more preterm babies.

Data for Africa compiled from http://www.everypreemie.org/country-profiles/ is illustrated in the table below. The countries listed are USAID priority countries

 

 Preemies Demographics in Africa

COUNTRY Preterms per year Preterm

Birth Rate <37weeks (percentage)

Low birth weight

<2500

(percentage)

Ratio boys: girls Preterms per year

<28weeks

Impaired preterm survivors per year Direct Preterms related  deaths
1. Nigeria 871,000 12 15 1:21 43,800 21,300 98,300
2. DRC 382,000 12 10 1:17 17,200 8,300 40,600
3. Ethiopia 320,000 10 20 1:17 15,700 7,900 24,400
4. Tanzania 236,000 11 80 1:18 11,100 5,700 10,800
5. Uganda 226,000 14 12 1:17 11,000 5,700 12,500
6. Kenya 193,000 12 8 1:17 9,500 4,900 13,300
7. Ghana 128,000 14 11 1:20 5,800 2,900 8,400
8. Malawi 120,000 18 13 1:17 5,900 3.100 4,800
9. Madagascar 118,000 14 16 1:17 5,700 2,900 5,400
10. Mali 88,000 12 18 1:20 4,200 2000 10,800
11. Zambia 84,000 13 11 1:17 4,000 2,000 5,500
12. Nepal 81,000 14 24 1:20 4,100 2,100 4,300
13. S. Sudan 59,000 13 1:21 2,700 1,300 6,000
14. Senegal 55,000 10 19 1:18 2,600 1,300 4,200
15. Haiti 37,000 14 23 1:19 1,900 900 2,700
16. Rwanda 35,000 10 7 1:15 2,000 1,000 2,600
17. Sierra              Leone 22,900 10 11 1:12 1,100 500 3,300
18. Liberia 22,000 14 14 1:20 1,100 500 1,100

 

 

Compiled by Brenda Anyumba

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About Brenda S. Anyumba

Brenda is passionate about raising premature babies and finding solutions to save the increasing numbers of premature babies dying daily in Africa. She had a late preterm baby and an extremely preterm baby. Brenda is also keen on the training of children according to God's will. She reads on 'Kingdom Parenting' and practises the knowledge she learns on her boys and is blessed to share them with you too.