How investment in health saves premature babies

DODOMA: ABOUT 11 per cent of 2 million babies delivered at different medical facilities in the country per year are born premature, Benjamin Mkapa Hospital (BMH) Executive Director, Dr Alphonce Chandika has confirmed.

Dr Chandika gave the statistics in Dodoma on Friday as Tanzania joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Prematurity Day.

The World Prematurity Day is observed on November 17 each year to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of premature babies and their families worldwide.

Because of the shocking numbers of babies born prematurely, Dr Chandika said BMH had intensified services in its paedriatic department that have helped to rescue a good number of babies.

Also, according to him, over 50,000 of new born babies below 28 days die, whereas 27per cent of those deaths are caused by prematurity related complications.

“This number is huge, that is why the government has invested heavily on hospital infrastructures, medicines and medical equipment at BMH,” he said.

He added that since the introduction of paediatric services at BMH, the hospital was receiving several referrals of premature babies from different hospitals.

According to him, in 2021, the BMH received 25 babies in the department and that in 2023 alone, about 108 babies were received, out of which 103 were treated and discharged.

He said out of that number, five babies (5per cent), were born below 28 weeks.

26-year-old Debora Kaale is among a few mothers who marked the world Prematurity Day with happiness, after she was well taken care of with her baby who was born after only 24 weeks at BMH.

“I received good treatment with my baby queen and my baby is in good condition as she has never encountered any health complications,” she said.

Her sentiments were not different from Hellen Mlay whose baby Michael was born after seven months.

“I was referred to BMH from KMC hospital in Kilimanjaro Region, for sure, I was accorded with the best services and my baby is now nine months old and doing fine,” she said.

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