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National Referral Hospital celebrates World Prematurity Day

The National Referral Hospital (NRH) Pediatric Ward has celebrated the World Prematurity Day 2022 today under the theme, “A Parents Embrace: A powerful therapy.”

The celebration saw tributes held to pay respect to premature babies, including testimonies from their parents.

NRH Consultant Pediatrician Dr. Carol Titiulu said this year’s celebration provides an opportunity to give more awareness on the care for preterm babies.

She emphasized that the care provided by parents for their newborns is more powerful than any medicine or medical equipment for the baby’s survival.

“Sometimes we think that medicine makes these small babies survive, but it’s not. Babies just need to be embraced and cuddled by their parents. Studies have shown that just by keeping babies’ warm through their parent’s warmth can help them to survive.

NRH Consultant Pediatrician Dr. Carol Titiulu

There are two types of care that the World Health Organization introduced to us, and the doctors and nurses are trained at. These are the Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) where when the baby is born, he or she is not taken away from its mother but should be put on the mothers chest for warmth which also initiates breastfeeding. The other one is when babies are born earlier than they should be like the preterm babies, this is called the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). Just like the kangaroo which always has its baby in its pouch, human babies also need that kind of care when the baby can be kept warm, to prevent infection and to promote breastfeeding.”

The World Health Organization recommends Kangaroo Mother Care as a routine for all preterm babies which should start right after birth, and to be initiated in the healthcare facility or at home for 8 to 24 hours.

Delivering her speech today, World Health Organization representative Dr. Sonja Tanevska, assured that they will support the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and NRH to examine the progress on the delivery of the EEMC and KMC.

She adds the WHO will engage technical assistance to visit the country next year.

World Health Organization representative Dr. Sonja Tanevska

“The hospital teams will review hospital capacity to support KMC and to build skills of staff and families in providing KMC. Data collected as part of the review will be used to develop KMC action frameworks and regularly monitor progress in implementation of these frameworks.

The analysis will give us insight into the current level of implementation and will pave the way for a quality improvement plan at facility level,” she said.

Meanwhile, a parent to one of our premature babies Mrs. Melinda Kini said she is grateful to be invited to be part of the celebrations.

“ My baby was born at 24 weeks with a low birth weight of 780 grams and it was a challenge for me as mother to take care of him. So today I am happy that my family were invited to attend the celebrations as it reminds me of the challenges I went through and the efforts that the nurses here at NRH have helped me with during my son’s time at the hospital.

Mrs. Melinda Kini

Having a preterm baby is not easy as they need extra care and sometimes even develop illnesses, that’s why I can only say thank you to the doctors and nurses for helping my son.”

The World Prematurity Day is celebrated on the 17th of November annually.

Solomon Islands marks the event the second time this year.

ENDS//

By Eliza Kukutu

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