Prematurity No.1 Cause of Child Mortality

As Dr. Foster mentioned on Monday, prematurity is now the leading cause of child mortality.  Looking into some of the links I came across the Every Preemie: SCALE (Scaling, catalyzing, advocating, learning, and evidence-driven). This really got me thinking about our Shiffman reading on political priority for global health initiatives. Before reading this article and looking to SCALE I did not truly realize how much went into advocating for specific causes and the work that goes into getting an initiative started. I knew there was a lot to it but I did not know how much political backing and the actors involved dictated the success of an initiative. In terms of premature births, SCALE aims to catalyze global uptake of preterm/low birth weight interventions, overcome bottlenecks and significantly increase coverage to decrease newborn mortality. Having political and global support is key in receiving funding and quicker implementation of intervention programs. I’m curious to see how the finding that pre-term birth is the number one cause of child mortality is going to influence upcoming policies in the Post-2015 Agenda.

Every Preemie: SCALE Facts

SCALES Expected Outcomes:

1. Improved translation of evidence into action through consolidation of                               evidence and focused implementation research to advance global understanding               of how to implement and scale up preterm/LBW services and commodities.

2. Increased capacity of local, national and global entities (health care                                 providers, community groups) to scale up and sustain the utilization of high                         impact interventions.

3. Increased prioritization of preterm/low birth weight with in-country decision                     makers and policy makers and other stakeholders at global and national levels.

SCALE Strategic approaches

1. A core package/toolkit of preterm material that will be offered to all                                 USAID-supported countries

2. A country demonstration package for up to four countries that will serve as                     learning laboratories for scaling up high impact preterm interventions.

3. A custom package to respond to request from countries for specialized                         technical assistance.

Prematurity Number 1 Cause of Child Mortality:

-Every year, 1.09 million children under the age of 5 die due to health complications that are linked to premature birth (gestational age <37 weeks).

-The baby’s organs aren’t fully developed. Immature lungs don’t open as well.

-They are more fragile and susceptible to infection.

-In well-developed countries these babies can survive with neonatal intensive care, but in low-income countries this care is not available.

-The study suggests Kangaroo mother care as an easy and cost-effective way to prevent preterm newborn deaths.

Link to original article/study:

Link to Every Preemie: SCALE information:


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