Dr Zainab Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Governor, says Nigeria is ranked third among 10 top countries with high rate of preterm birth of 773,600.
Mrs Bagudu, who disclosed this on Friday in Abuja when the National Association of Nigerian Paediatric Nurses (NANPAN) paid advocacy visit on her, attributed the statistics to the latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Preterm birth also know as premature birth is the birth of baby at fewer than 37 weeks gestational age.
Mrs Bagudu, who frowned at the rating, lamented that a lot of preterm related death often occurred due to lack of sophisticated equipment that would ensure proper care for the babies.
She however noted that it was important and high time for the nation to rise up to its responsibilities by coming up with innovations and policies that would help in saving the lives of number of neonatal death.
“Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide and if we can save some of these babies we will definitely record more economic impact in our country.
“The resources in terms of human and material that is expended on premature birth and babies dying every year is enormous and we can do something about it,” she said.
Mrs Bagudu identified one of the easy ways to restore the lives and ensure better health for premature babies to include Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), adding that it will enable the baby cuddle with mother in the absence of incubators.
According to her, if this care can be taken to the grassroots by educating mothers on how to effectively do it, it will go a long way in reducing the number of deaths associated with premature delivery.
Mrs Olubunmi Lawal, National President of the NANPAN, said the visit was aimed at soliciting the support of Mrs Bagudu on the association’s upcoming annual national conference slated for Nov. 13 to 17 in Enugu.
She emphasised that the conference was geared toward adopting modalities to ensure the survival of large number of premature babies.
According to her, it is also part of pre-event activities for the commemoration of the International Day of Preterm Birth billed for Nov. 17.
Lawal noted that part of the conference activities was for members of the association to engage policy makers as well as wives of governors to help improve, promote and protect the survival of premature babies.
“Premature babies are vulnerable hence we are here to pay advocacy visit on Her Excellency in order to promote the survival of preterm babies.
“We are also paying advocacy to tell the world that the association is significant when it comes to improving the survival of preterm babies and newborns as a whole.
“Preterm babies need a skilful care and if you are not trained on it you cannot do it effectively,” Lawal said.