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Global Health Leaders Gather to Address Urgent Crisis of Prematurity and Stillbirth
Date:4/21/2009

Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, March of Dimes, PATH, Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Health Organization collaborate to address suffering caused by millions of deaths and disabilities each year

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) April 21, 2009 -- Every year around the world, more than three million stillbirths occur, and more than one million babies die because they were born preterm. Today, the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) announced a collaborative effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, March of Dimes, PATH, Save the Children, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) to examine the causes of prematurity and stillbirth and identify and promote effective interventions.

These global health organizations will sponsor an invitation-only International Conference on Prematurity and Stillbirth, May 7-10, 2009, in Seattle, at which maternal, newborn and child health leaders will raise awareness of this immense global health burden, propose a roadmap for future research efforts and build a foundation for policy changes that support prevention and treatment globally.

GAPPS is conducting a comprehensive landscape review of published and unpublished data on premature birth and stillbirth research and interventions, which will inform the conference. The review, developed by an international team of investigators and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be released post-conference.

Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of deaths that occur in the first 28 days of life, according to The Lancet's Neonatal Survival Series. The Institute of Medicine estimates US healthcare costs associated with premature birth exceeded $26 billion in 2005. Premature babies who do survive often suffer serious health problems, such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, respirat
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