Wednesday, November 22, 2017

15 million of world's babies are premature births, report says

RECOMMENDED READING


About 15 million premature babies are born every year — more than 1 in 10 of the world's births and a bigger problem than previously believed, according to the first country-by-country estimates of this obstetric epidemic.

The startling toll: 1.1 million of these fragile newborns die as a result, and even those who survive can suffer lifelong disabilities.

Most of the world's preemies are born in Africa and Asia, says the report released Wednesday.

It's a problem for the United States, too, where half a million babies are born too soon. That's about 1 in 8 U.S. births, a higher rate than in Europe, Canada, Australia or Japan — and even worse than rates in a number of less developed countries, too, the report found.

But the starkest difference between rich and poorer countries: survival.

"Being born too soon is an unrecognized killer," said Dr. Joy Lawn of Save the Children, who co-authored the report with the March of Dimes, World Health Organization and a coalition of international health experts.

Sophisticated and costly intensive care saves the majority of preterm babies in developed nations. The risk of death from prematurity is at least 12 times higher for an African newborn than for a European baby, the report found.

Globally, prematurity is not only the leading killer of newborns but the second-leading cause of death in children under 5. And no one knows how many suffer disabilities including cerebral palsy, blindness or learning disorders.

About 12 percent of U.S. births are preterm, about the same as estimates in Thailand, Turkey and Somalia. In contrast, just 5.9 percent of births in Japan and Sweden are premature.

Experts can't fully explain why. Part of the reason must be poorer access to prenatal care for uninsured U.S. women, especially minority mothers-to-be, said March of Dimes epidemiologist Christopher Howson. African-American women are nearly twice as likely as white women to receive late or no prenatal care, and they have higher rates of preterm birth as well, he said.

The report ranks the U.S. with a worse preterm birth rate than 58 of the 65 countries that best track the problem, including much of Latin America. Add dozens of poor countries where the counts are less certain, and the report estimates that 127 other nations may have lower rates.

Comments

AP Top News at 7:10 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 7:10 p.m. EST
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG ó After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like itís an agreement that is cert...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
In terror-wary NYC, security tight for Thanksgiving parade

In terror-wary NYC, security tight for Thanksgiving parade

Security for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature trucks filled with sand, concrete barriers and scores of police officers
Updated: 12 minutes ago

Cop says woman near teen when he opened fire, killing both

A Chicago police officer responding to a domestic disturbance in 2015 says he knew a woman was standing close to a bat-wielding teen when he opened fire, killing both
Updated: 13 minutes ago

Suspects in Venezuelan corruption probe hold US passports

High-ranking officials that Venezuelan authorities arrested amid an anti-corruption sweep of its Houston-based subsidiary carry U.S. passports
Updated: 16 minutes ago

Anthony Hudson quits as New Zealand soccer coach

New Zealand soccer coach Anthony Hudson has resigned a week after his team's loss to Peru in an intercontinental World Cup qualifying playoff
Updated: 17 minutes ago
SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations. But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Flash back: Gordon practices with Browns after suspensions

Flash back: Gordon practices with Browns after suspensions

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon practiced with his Cleveland teammates for first time in nearly 450 days
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Trump SoHo to shed 'Trump' amid reports of sagging business

Trump SoHo to shed 'Trump' amid reports of sagging business

The Trump Organization is ending its licensing deal with the Trump SoHo hotel amid reports that the property has struggled to attract business.
Updated: 24 minutes ago
History repeats for Mourinho, Man United with loss at Basel

History repeats for Mourinho, Man United with loss at Basel

History repeated itself in the Champions League on Wednesday when Basel struck in the 89th minute to beat Mourinho's Man United 1-0
Updated: 26 minutes ago