LAHORE - Like other parts of the globe, the World Prematurity Day will be observed in the country today (Tuesday) for renewing commitment towards reducing the number of preterm births.

According to an estimate, around 750,000 preterm births are recorded each year in Pakistan.

Globally, 15 million babies born preterm each year and over 1 million children die before their fifth birthday from related complications. Pakistan, India and Nigeria account for more than 60 per cent of the total number of premature babies and 50 percent of the deaths due to complications.

World Prematurity Day is part of a global effort to raise awareness about the deaths and disabilities due to prematurity. Up to 75 per cent of deaths of preterm babies are preventable. Scaling up the quality and coverage of care for women and their babies will bear a triple return on investment preventing 54 per cent of maternal deaths, 71 per cent of new born deaths and 33 per cent of still births.

An important aspect of prevention of preterm birth is adequate maternal nutrition which is critical for foetal development. Women with low Body Mass Index or low pregnancy weight gain are at increased risk for preterm birth.

In addition, there are proven low-cost interventions that are especially effective for preterm babies. These include antenatal steroid injections given to mothers in preterm labour, Kangaroo Mother Care – a technique used to keep the newborn warm and support breast feeding. Good hygiene care can help prevent multiple infections while early initiation of breast feeding within the first hour can particularly help prevent deaths.

Call for focus on research: Post Graduate Medical Institute Principal Prof Khalid Mahmood has urged medical students to focus on research and serve humanity with dedication after completing the study.

Addressing a function to welcome new batch of students at Ameeruddin Medical College on Monday, he expressed hope that the institution would help overcoming shortage of capable doctors in the country.

Faculty members, MS LGH Dr Niaz Ahmed, Additional Dean Dr Bushra Suhail, students and their parents attended the ceremony.

Prof Khalid Mahmood said that modern machinery was available at the college to help students in their research work. Students of AMC keep themselves aware of the day to day advancements in medical field. These students are lucky enough to have such teachers who are specialized in their specific medical areas and subjects. He expressed hope that doctors of AMC would contribute great services to nation in coming future.