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Experts call for acceleration of research and interventions for prematurity and stillbirth
Date:2/23/2010

e first week of life, when about 3 million newborns die each year, many with complications of prematurity," said Gary Darmstadt, director of the Family Health Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Attention to this crucial stage of life will help make progress toward the Millennium Development Goals of reducing child mortality and improving safe motherhood, because maternal, newborn and child health is so intertwined, and a healthy start to life sets the stage for lifelong health."

Preterm Birth and Stillbirth Affect all Countries

Although the impact of preterm birth and stillbirth is most widely felt in low- and middle-income countries, preterm birth rates are also rising in high-income countries. Preterm birth is the number one cause of newborn deaths worldwide, and those who survive can experience serious short- and long-term health problems. One million stillbirths occur each year during childbirth that could be reduced with existing interventions.

In the United States, great disparities exist between racial and ethnic groups: the preterm birth rates in 2005 vary from 18.4% among African American women to 11.7% among non-Hispanic white women and 10% among Asian and Pacific Islander women. An even larger disparity exists between costs and research. In the United States, for example, preterm birth is the 7th leading U.S. health care expenditure ($26B), yet perinatal health research ranks 63rd in NIH funding.

"BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth is pleased to present this important report," said Melissa Norton, Editorial Director (Medicine) at BioMed Central. "To date there has not been enough attention given to preterm births and stillbirth, and this report will contribute considerably in reducing the 13 million preterm births and 3.2 million stillbirths worldwide."

"Preterm births and stillbirths are major health issues in rich and poor countries alike, a private loss to many families that shoul
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Contact: Gretchen Sorensen
gretchen@sorensenideas.com
206-794-1057
Seattle Children's
Source:Eurekalert

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