An analysis published Thursday in the Lancet examines trends in and interventions for preterm birth in 39 developed countries, with the authors writing, "Shockingly, very little reduction is currently possible," Examiner.com reports. The analysis "said there are a handful of proven protections of preterm births and if the U.S. and other developed countries do a better job of using them, together they could keep 58,000 babies a year from being born too soon," the news service states. The analysis is meant to inform the report "Born Too Soon: The Global Action Report on Preterm Birth," which was published in May by an international coalition including the World Health Organization, Save the Children, U.S. National Institutes of Health, March of Dimes and other groups, according to Examiner.com.
"About 15 million preterm babies are born every year, most of them in Africa and parts of Asia where the priority is to improve care of these fragile newborns," the news service writes, adding, "More than one million premature infants die, mostly in developing countries, and survivors can suffer lifelong disabilities" (Sutherlin, 11/15). "But in wealthier countries, where sophisticated medical care already keeps most preemies alive, the focus is shifting to how to prevent these births in the first place," the Associated Press notes (Neergaard, 11/15). "[W]ith few highly effective interventions for preterm prevention, the U.S. and 38 other high-income countries could reduce preterm births by only five percent by 2015, even if the five currently available evidence-based interventions were fully implemented, according to the new study," a Save the Children press release states (11/15).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.