November 17, Prematurity Day: Providing attention and care is a right


About 30 million babies are born prematurely per year in the world. Of these, 1.2 million are born in the region of the Americas. 

Montevideo,  November 17th, 2020 (CLAP/PAHO)‒ Premature babies do not reach the appropriate weight, are exposed to getting sick, require specialized attention, care to survive, to grow and develop healthy.

A significant proportion of them die or have complications due to not receiving timely and quality care, leaving sequelae. Providing that necessary care and attention is, above all, a right. Moreover, it is everyone's responsibility to work to, on one hand, prevent premature births and, on the other hand, provide premature babies with the care they require.

In addition to the increased risk of mortality, the complications that premature babies can present are disability, which may be associated with brain injuries during childbirth, serious bacterial infections, retinopathy of prematurity, or linked to congenital diseases.


It is a priority to strengthen efforts and investment to transform health care so that it is available to all new-borns in order to enable them to exercise their rights and those of their families. At the same time, these actions will make it possible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal number 3, of "Ensuring a healthy life and promoting well-being for all ages". 

Based on the development of instruments, technical guidelines, training, and technical cooperation to the countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) are committed to this task *.

In this sense, it is essential

  • Allocate the necessary resources.
  • Ensure access to quality care for all new-borns 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Strengthen the capacities of health teams to improve medical care, nursing, rehabilitation, support, etc., in order to provide comprehensive and quality care, in collaboration with families.
  • Work with families and caregivers to actively contribute as expert caregivers, by reducing stress and improving the response and outcome of premature babies.
  • Strengthen the work, investment, training and countries legislations, in order to provide quality care, included in the countries policies, together with a long-term investment for these babies.
  • Likewise, the active participation of the different actors in society is essential, advocating and working in this regard.

      *Recent publications