World Prematurity Day observed

Eileen van der Schyff

World Prematurity Day was observed on Tuesday (17 November 2020) to raise awareness of the impact premature births have on families and support systems worldwide. Namib Times attended a World Prematurity event at Mediclinic Swakopmund on Tuesday.

Healthcare Practitioner, specializing as Pediatrician and head of the Neonatal Unit, Dr Sebastian Gericke touched on the importance of this day, not only to raise awareness, but also to celebrate these special babies and their families.
Pediatrician, Dr Silvia Ingeborg Mohrcken who has been with the hospital’s Neonatal Unit for 23 years, shared some heartwarming stories of families she has helped over the years. Also, the blessings premature babies bring to families.
Dr Gericke made use of the opportunity to announce that the Neonatal Unit at Mediclinic Swakopmund will very soon have a Breastmilk Donor Bank. Dr Gericke explained the extreme importance of breastmilk for the survival of premature babies.
In many instances the mothers of premature babies cannot yet produce milk from the outset. Breastmilk then needs to be sourced and this is where the Breastmilk Donor Bank will play a pivotal role.
Dr Gericke also called upon medical aid schemes to understand and recognise the importance of breastmilk. Currently, medical aid schemes don’t cover the expense for breastmilk for premature babies and the parents bear the expense thereof.
Namib Times also spoke to Latoya Carolissen, the mother of a baby girl currently admitted to the Neonatal Unit of Mediclinic Swakopmund. Latoya’s baby was born on 23 weeks.
Carolissen expressed her gratitude towards the dedication and care of the specialists and nursing personnel who stood by her side since the birth of her baby.
“Dr Gericke prayed with me when I arrived at hospital. That is when I knew I was at the right place”, said an emotional Latoya. Her family’s biggest wish is to take their little bundle of joy home for Christmas.

1 in 10 babies born worldwide every day are premature

Premature babies (also known as pre-term babies) is defined as babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. There are sub-categories of pre-term births, based on gestational age: extremely pre-term (less than 28 weeks), and very pre-term (28 to 32 weeks). A whopping 1 in 10 babies worldwide are born premature.

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