Although Bangladesh attained remarkable success in curbing child mortality rate over the last 25 years, more than six hundred thousand are born prematurely each year in Bangladesh. Awareness about health and nutrition of mothers is important to decrease premature birth, discussants at a roundtable observed. 

Prothom Alo, in cooperation with UNICEF and Save the Children, organized the roundtable prior to world prematurity on November 17 at the CA Bhaban auditorium in Karwan Bazar.

The discussants, at the roundtable on the roles of family to preempt birth and preterm birth, also pointed out that Kangaroo Mother Care (skin-to-skin contact between the preterm or low birth weight and the mother or the care-giver) Facilities should be improved in maternity clinics in Bangladesh. 

Director general of health services Abul Kalam Azad stressed the need for awareness in community level to reduce neonatal mortality rate and overall improvement of pregnant mothers' health.

Sustainable development goal (SDG)

He also said Bangladesh is on the right track to attain United Nation's sustainable development goal (SDG) regarding neonatal mortality rate well ahead of 2030. Director of health services Sultan Md Shamsuzzaman said mortality rate of premature babies in the developed world is much lower in comparison with Bangladesh.

"We must learn from them how they check the death of premature babies," he added. UNICEF's chief of health Maya Vandenent said, improving community clinic facilities can positively change the overall healthcare system of Bangladesh.

BSMMU's neonatology department chairman Abdul Mannan said that breastfeeding within one hour of an infant's birth can significantly reduce many health-related neonatal problems.

The family planning directorate's deputy director Farid Uddin Ahmed, Bangladesh Shishu Hospital's head of neonatology MAK Azad Chowdhury, Obstetric and Gynecological Society of Bangladesh's (OGSB) president Laila Arjumad Banu, Brac's program manager Reshma Khanam, ICDDR'B senior director Shams El Arifeen, UNICEF's health specialist Shamina Sharmin, MaMoni MNCSP's Uzma Syed, Bangladesh Neonatal Forum's president Tahmina Begum, USAID's Iftekhar Rashid, among others, spoke at the program.