As the world approaches World Premature Day, Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital grapples with an influx of preterm babies, attributing the surge to a concerning trend of expectant mothers neglecting antenatal care services.
Dr. Evelyn Nabunya, the Executive Director of Mulago Women, emphasized the critical role antenatal care plays in preventing premature births.
“A premature birth is more likely to happen when a mother has a health problem like diabetes or engages in harmful behaviors during her pregnancy, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.”
Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital receives between 100 and 120 premature babies each month, according to the data. These premature babies put further burden on the country’s healthcare system.
Pediatrician Dr. Jessica Nakibuuka provided light on the various degrees of preterm deliveries, ranging from extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks) to very preterm (28 to less than 32 weeks) and moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks).
However, medical professionals emphasized that having a premature baby is not the end of the path. Kangaroo care, which involves close skin-to-skin contact between a baby and a parent, is proven to be a good technique.
Dr. Jessica Nakibuuka emphasized the advantages of kangaroo care.
“This technique not only regulates the baby’s body temperature but also promotes better breathing patterns, improved weight gain, and faster development.”
With the increase of premature babies, health practitioners are asking fathers to actively participate in kangaroo care. Dr. Evelyn Nabunya urged.
“Fathers can play a crucial role in the well-being of preterm infants through this method, providing not only physical support but emotional bonding as well.”
As World Premature Day approaches, the need for improved understanding of the importance of antenatal care and active parental involvement in neonatal care becomes more pressing.
The healthcare community highlights the importance of working together to address this rising concern and guarantee a healthier start for every newborn.