Complications of prematurity are the leading cause of death in the neonatal period. In the Americas region, about 1.2 million births occur prematurely. Premature babies require specialised attention and specific care to enable them to survive, grow and develop healthily.
In order to give visibility to this problem and raise awareness of the needs and rights of premature babies and their families, 17 November is World Prematurity Day.
This year, it has been decided to focus on the need for mothers and fathers not to be considered as visitors and to have unrestricted access to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU). This measure has enormous benefits for the baby's development, as it favours skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and early attachment, as well as for families, as it reduces stress and distress.
In this context, the Latin American Centre for Perinatology – Women and Reproductive Health (CLAP/WR) of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) has developed a series of materials and key messages to promote unrestricted access to NICUs for mothers and fathers and to raise awareness of the importance of family-centred care.
Families with unrestricted access to NICUs