50% babies born at Korle-Bu are preterm— Dr Ahor-Essel

50% babies born at Korle-Bu are preterm— Dr Ahor-Essel

About 50 per cent of babies delivered annually at the ma­ternity unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) are preterm, Senior Special­ist Paediatrician, Dr Kojo Ahor-Essel, has disclosed.

He said although preterm birth; where a baby is born too early before 37 weeks of pregnancy, is a usual occurrence, the hospital was seeing issues of preeclamp­sia, placental abruptions and other complications among pregnant women in recent times, contributing to the rise in preterm cases.

The Paediatrician thus advised expectant mothers to seek early antenatal care to help reduce risks of deliv­ering preterm and improve chances of baby survival.

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Speaking at an event to mark this year’s World Prematurity Day on the theme; ‘Small actions, BIG IMPACT: Im­mediate skin-to-skin care for every baby everywhere.’

Organised by the Neo­natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital in collaboration with NICU Soldiers, an advocacy and support organisation for par­ents of preterm babies and Ghandour Cosmetics Lim­ited, the celebration sought to support parents and guardians of preterm babies to navigate the journey.

As such, both organisa­tions distributed packs of baby care and hygiene prod­ucts to parents of babies in the NICU to commemorate the occasion.

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Dr Ahor-Essel, stressing on the need for early antena­tal care, said it was important to easily detect complica­tions in pregnancy that could expose mothers to delivering preterm.

“Sometimes we don’t know the cause but most times, preterm could be complications from pregnan­cy so we advise that we start antenatal care very early.

Even before that, every woman of reproductive age should start taking folic acids, eat balance diet and at­tend antenantal at least four times before labour so that in case there is a problem, doctors or midwives can detect early and ensure baby has chance of survival,” he advised.

Touching on experiences at the NICU, the paediatri­cian advised against stigma and discrimination against babies and parents admitted at the unit.

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He also encouraged mothers of preterm to take seriously “small actions” like skin-to-skin contact with their babies to establish bonding, good nutrition, hy­giene and care which could impact on the survival and development of babies.

Dr Ahor-Essel also ap­pealed for increased resourc­es and logistical support to the unit to effectively treat and care for preterm babies.

“Attending to premature babies is labor intensive and financially demanding, so we need lot of support like incubators, monitors among others. One key thing we wish for is a breast milk bank to help save the babies and prevent them from developing further complications and we hope authorities push that into reality soon.”

The Founder and Exec­utive Director of NICU Soldiers, Ms Efia Akese, encouraged parents of preterm babies not to be overwhelmed by the chal­lenges at the NICU but stay hopeful.

She said their ability to stay strong through the ex­perience could highly impact the chances of survival of their babies.

“Preterm babies are not cursed, they are not incomplete neither are they evil. We must stay strong for them and show them utmost love till they pull through the NICU,” she urged.

The Brands Manager at Ghandour Cosmetics, Vic­toria Abaka, expressed hap­piness over the partnership with NICU Soldiers, which she said resonates with the company’s vision and goals.

“We feel this is an import­ant drive and initiative to be part of and we are happy to do so. We believe this is the beginning of a long term partnership with NICU Soldiers to put smiles on the faces of mothers and their babies,” she noted.

World Prematurity Day is commemorated annually on November 17 to raise awareness of the heavy bur­den of death and disability, the psychological stress, and the pain and suffering that preterm birth causes to par­ents, families, communities and nations at large.

In Ghana, about 200,000 babies born annually are preterm and the condition is said to be the leading cause of neonatal deaths locally and worldwide.


Joyceline Natally Cudjoe

An Entertainment Columnist, Content Writer, Blogger, Novelist, Poet, and a Publicist. For business or story tip off, contact me on +233 24 646 6866 or email: [email protected]

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