«Every day in the world one in ten babies is born before term. Today, thanks to research, most of them grow without consequences in development. Our National Health Service offers care and attention to all premature babies. We have to stay close to their parents and continue to invest in research ». The Minister of Health wrote on Facebook Roberto Speranza, on the occasion of World Prematurity Day which is celebrated on November 17.
Thirty thousand premature babies a year
Every year about 15 million premature babies are born in the world, i.e. before the 37th week of gestation, in Italy over 30 thousand, 6.9% of births, a rate that with the pandemic has increased to 11.2% in deliveries by women with Sars-Cov-2 infection (Covid Sin Registry) Premature birth, signals the Italian Society of Neonatology, involves worries and anxieties in parents, who are faced with an event about which, often, they know little. But Italy is among the countries with the lowest mortality rate in the world of very premature babies, that is, weighing less than 1500 grams.
Preterm births are also affected by poverty and lack of services
“The causes of the mortality of these premature babies cannot be found only in the network of birth points”, underlined the president of the Italian Society of Neonatology (Sin) Luigi Orfeo. “There are many and different factors that influence the outcome of a preterm birth such as the incidence of poverty, accessibility to treatment and prevention, the lack of services and infrastructures in disadvantaged areas, paths to accompany pregnancy that are not very widespread, etc. We neonatologists do our best to improve the network of Italian birth centers and we are committed to guarantee parental access without time limitations, in the NINs, the neonatal intensive care units where preterm babies are transferred and where they can stay for months; to continue to promote the importance of breastfeeding and the donation of breast milk, through the donated human milk banks and for the recognition of neonatal follow-up services “.
Fundamental for premature babies
“Nutrition with breast milk and breastfeeding play a special role for babies born prematurely”, underlined the Undersecretary of Health. Andrea Costa, on the occasion of World Prematurity Day. «These children – Costa recalled – often need special and sometimes intensive care for a certain period of time from birth, from a few days to a few months in severe cases. In addition to the necessary medical and nursing assistance, which enormous strides have taken in the last 30 years – underlines the undersecretary – nutrition is of particular importance to reduce complications related to prematurity and in general to improve the neuro-cognitive development of these children ” .
The donated human milk bank for preterm infants
The Bank of Human Milk Tomorrow for Preterm Babies represents a gesture of love and solidarity between women, for the benefit of their little ones. The donated human milk bank project, the acronym is Blud, at the Gemelli hospital could see the light as early as next year. «The concept of donor milk bank – he explains Giovanni Vento, director of the Uoc of neonatology, Agostino Gemelli Irccs University Hospital Foundation and associate professor of Pediatrics, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome campus – is that the milk donated by a mother can be collected in a special ‘bank’, to be then administered on demand to the son of another woman ». Vento explains that the goal of the donated human milk bank “will be to offer the best possible care to babies born preterm to Gemini. Our project foresees a Blud that makes us self-sufficient, allowing us to meet the great demand for breast milk, resulting from the high number of premature babies born in Gemini. But to do this, everyone’s help is needed; it is important to raise awareness of the culture of giving and to make people understand the importance of donation for these little patients “.