The staff of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Upper East Regional Hospital in Bolgatanga have saved a preterm baby born at 27 weeks of pregnancy.
The said baby recorded a birth weight of 0.9 kilograms (Kg) instead of the normal 2.5 kg but pulled through and survived owing to the professional care and determination exhibited by staff of the unit.
Madam Sheila Nigre, the Manager of the Unit, who disclosed this at the climax of the World Prematurity month celebration of the Unit, attributed the success to the grace of God and the efforts of staff of the Unit.
“It is joyful that by the grace of God and the efforts of staff, we have in our midst one of our preterm babies delivered at 27 weeks of pregnancy with 0.9 kg as birth weight, and come 29th November, 2022, this baby will be one year old,” she said.
The programme brought together management and staff of the Hospital, mothers of preterm babies and other stakeholders to celebrate the successes of the Unit and encourage mothers of preterm babies not to give up on their babies but nurture them to grow.
Annually, November 17, is celebrated as World Prematurity Day, and this year's celebration was on the theme; “A Parent's Embrace; A Powerful Therapy.”
The celebration spread across the entire month, with various activities including health education on the need to care for preterm babies delivered by various staff of New-born Care Units across the country.
The celebration is usually intended to raise awareness about preterm deliveries with its tendency to demoralise mothers and families with emphasis that such babies were not evil, but with proper care, they could grow normally just like babies delivered at full-term.
Madam Nigre, who is a Neonatal Nurse Specialist, explained that preterm babies were born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy, and said preterm birth was a worldwide challenge, with Africa and South Asia having more than 60 per cent of global preterm births.
“Each year, more than one in ten babies are born preterm. It is a risk factor for low birth weight and the leading cause of death under five years. One million out of 15 million preterm babies born annually die as a result of complications,” she said.
Madam Nigre urged nurses, family members and friends of women who delivered preterm babies to offer the needed support.
The Specialist said preterm birth was the second leading cause of admission in the Unit, and indicated that more resources were needed for positive health outcomes.
Madam Nigre appealed to individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations to support the Unit with incubators, cardiac monitors and radiant warmers for improved quality service delivery.
She further appealed to the Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service to offer more nurses and doctors in the Hospital the opportunity to specialise in diverse fields of health to enhance quality service delivery.