[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
In 2013, an estimated 2.8 million newborns died and 2.7 million were stillborn. A much greater number suffer from long term impairment associated with preterm birth, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital anomalies, and perinatal or infectious causes. With the approaching deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, there was a need to set the new research priorities on newborns and stillbirth with a focus not only on survival but also on health, growth and development. We therefore carried out a systematic exercise to set newborn health research priorities for 2013-2025.
We used adapted Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) methods for this prioritization exercise. We identified and approached the 200 most productive researchers and 400 program experts, and 132 of them submitted research questions online. These were collated into a set of 205 research questions, sent for scoring to the 600 identified experts, and were assessed and scored by 91 experts.
Nine out of top ten identified priorities were in the domain of research on improving delivery of known interventions, with simplified neonatal resuscitation program and clinical algorithms and improved skills of community health workers leading the list. The top 10 priorities in the domain of development were led by ideas on improved Kangaroo Mother Care at community level, how to improve the accuracy of diagnosis by community health workers, and perinatal audits. The 10 leading priorities for discovery research focused on stable surfactant with novel modes of administration for preterm babies, ability to diagnose fetal distress and novel tocolytic agents to delay or stop preterm labour.
These findings will assist both donors and researchers in supporting and conducting research to close the knowledge gaps for reducing neonatal mortality, morbidity and long term impairment. WHO, SNL and other partners will work to generate interest among key national stakeholders, governments, NGOs, and research institutes in these priorities, while encouraging research funders to support them. We will track research funding, relevant requests for proposals and trial registers to monitor if the priorities identified by this exercise are being addressed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Small-for-gestational-age (SGA) and preterm births are associated with adverse health consequences, including neonatal and infant mortality, childhood undernutrition, and adulthood chronic disease.
The specific aims of this study were to estimate the association between short maternal stature and outcomes of SGA alone, preterm birth alone, or both, and to calculate the population attributable fraction of SGA and preterm birth associated with short maternal stature.
We conducted an individual participant data meta-analysis with the use of data sets from 12 population-based cohort studies and the WHO Global Survey on Maternal and Perinatal Health (13 of 24 available data sets used) from low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). We included those with weight taken within 72 h of birth, gestational age, and maternal height data (n = 177,000). For each of these studies, we individually calculated RRs between height exposure categories of <145 cm, 145 to <150 cm, and 150 to <155 cm (reference: ≥155 cm) and outcomes of SGA, preterm birth, and their combination categories. SGA was defined with the use of both the International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century (INTERGROWTH-21st) birth weight standard and the 1991 US birth weight reference. The associations were then meta-analyzed.
All short stature categories were statistically significantly associated with term SGA, preterm appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA), and preterm SGA births (reference: term AGA). When using the INTERGROWTH-21st standard to define SGA, women <145 cm had the highest adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) (term SGA: aRR 2.03, 95% CI: 1.76, 2.35; preterm AGA: aRR 1.45, 95% CI: 1.26, 1.66; preterm SGA: aRR 2-13, 95% CI: 1.42, 3.21). Similar associations were seen for SGA defined by the US reference. Annually, 5.5 million term SGA (18.6% of the global total), 550,800 preterm AGA (5.0% of the global total), and 458,000 preterm SGA (16.5% of the global total) births may be associated with maternal short stature.
Approximately 6.5 million SGA and/or preterm births in LMIC may be associated with short maternal stature annually. A reduction in this burden requires primary prevention of SGA, improvement in postnatal growth through early childhood, and possibly further intervention in late childhood and adolescence. It is vital for researchers to broaden the evidence base for addressing chronic malnutrition through multiple life stages, and for program implementers to explore effective, sustainable ways of reaching the most vulnerable populations.
Journal of Nutrition 10/2015; DOI:10.3945/jn.115.216374 · 3.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: We report a cluster-randomised trial of a home-based counselling strategy, designed for large-scale implementation, in a population of 1.2 million people in rural southern Tanzania. We hypothesised that the strategy would improve neonatal survival by around 15%. Methods and Findings: In 2010 we trained 824 female volunteers to make three home visits to women and their families during pregnancy and two visits to them in the first few days of the infant’s life in 65 wards, selected randomly from all 132 wards in six districts in Mtwara and Lindi regions, constituting typical rural areas in Southern Tanzania. The remaining wards were comparison areas. Participants were not blinded to the intervention. The primary analysis was an intention-to-treat analysis comparing the neonatal mortality (day 0–27) per 1,000 live births in intervention and comparison wards based on a representative survey in 185,000 households in 2013 with a response rate of 90%. We included 24,381 and 23,307 live births between July 2010 and June 2013 and 7,823 and 7,555 live births in the last year in intervention and comparison wards, respectively. We also compared changes in neonatal mortality and newborn care practices in intervention and comparison wards using baseline census data from 2007 including 225,000 households and 22,243 births in five of the six intervention districts. Amongst the 7,823 women with a live birth in the year prior to survey in intervention wards, 59% and 41% received at least one volunteer visit during pregnancy and postpartum, respectively. Neonatal mortality reduced from 35.0 to 30.5 deaths per 1,000 live births between 2007 and 2013 in the five districts, respectively. There was no evidence of an impact of the intervention on neonatal survival (odds ratio [OR] 1.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9–1.2, p = 0.339). Newborn care practices reported by mothers were better in intervention than in comparison wards, including immediate breastfeeding (42% of 7,287 versus 35% of 7,008, OR 1.4, CI 1.3–1.6, p < 0.001), feeding only breast milk for the first 3 d (90% of 7,557 versus 79% of 7,307, OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.8–2.7, p < 0.001), and clean hands for home delivery (92% of 1,351 versus 88% of 1,799, OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0–2.3, p = 0.033). Facility delivery improved dramatically in both groups from 41% of 22,243 in 2007 and was 82% of 7,820 versus 75% of 7,553 (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.2–2.0, p = 0.002) in intervention and comparison wards in 2013. Methodological limitations include our inability to rule out some degree of leakage of the intervention into the comparison areas and response bias for newborn care behaviours. Conclusion: Neonatal mortality remained high despite better care practices and childbirth in facilities becoming common. Public health action to improve neonatal survival in this setting should include a focus on improving the quality of facility-based childbirth care. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01022788
PLoS Medicine 09/2015; 12(9):e1001881. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001881 · 14.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Families in high mortality settings need regular contact with high quality services, but existing population-based measurements of contacts do not reflect quality. To address this, in 2012, we designed linked household and frontline worker surveys for Gombe State, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Uttar Pradesh, India. Using reported frequency and content of contacts, we present a method for estimating the population level coverage of high quality contacts.
Linked cluster-based household and frontline health worker surveys were performed. Interviews were conducted in 40, 80 and 80 clusters in Gombe, Ethiopia, and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, including 348, 533, and 604 eligible women and 20, 76, and 55 skilled birth attendants. High quality contacts were defined as contacts during which recommended set of processes for routine health care were met. In Gombe, 61% (95% confidence interval 50-72) of women had at least one antenatal contact, 22% (14-29) delivered with a skilled birth attendant, 7% (4-9) had a post-partum check and 4% (2-8) of newborns had a post-natal check. Coverage of high quality contacts was reduced to 11% (6-16), 8% (5-11), 0%, and 0% respectively. In Ethiopia, 56% (49-63) had at least one antenatal contact, 15% (11-22) delivered with a skilled birth attendant, 3% (2-6) had a post-partum check and 4% (2-6) of newborns had a post-natal check. Coverage of high quality contacts was 4% (2-6), 4% (2-6), 0%, and 0%, respectively. In Uttar Pradesh 74% (69-79) had at least one antenatal contact, 76% (71-80) delivered with a skilled birth attendant, 54% (48-59) had a post-partum check and 19% (15-23) of newborns had a post-natal check. Coverage of high quality contacts was 6% (4-8), 4% (2-6), 0%, and 0% respectively.
Measuring content of care to reflect the quality of contacts can reveal missed opportunities to deliver best possible health care.
PLoS ONE 05/2015; 10(5):e0126840. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0126840 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In diverse fields of empirical research—including many in the biological sciences—attempts are made to decompose the effect of an exposure on an outcome into its effects via a number of different pathways. For example, we may wish to separate the effect of heavy alcohol consumption on systolic blood pressure (SBP) into effects via body mass index (BMI), via gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), and via other pathways. Much progress has been made, mainly due to contributions from the field of causal inference, in understanding the precise nature of statistical estimands that capture such intuitive effects, the assumptions under which they can be identified, and statistical methods for doing so. These contributions have focused almost entirely on settings with a single mediator, or a set of mediators considered en bloc; in many applications, however, researchers attempt a much more ambitious decomposition into numerous path-specific effects through many mediators. In this article, we give counterfactual definitions of such path-specific estimands in settings with multiple mediators, when earlier mediators may affect later ones, showing that there are many ways in which decomposition can be done. We discuss the strong assumptions under which the effects are identified, suggesting a sensitivity analysis approach when a particular subset of the assumptions cannot be justified. These ideas are illustrated using data on alcohol consumption, SBP, BMI, and GGT from the Izhevsk Family Study. We aim to bridge the gap from “single mediator theory” to “multiple mediator practice,” highlighting the ambitious nature of this endeavor and giving practical suggestions on how to proceed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Trend data for causes of child death are crucial to inform priorities for improving child survival by and beyond 2015. We report child mortality by cause estimates in 2000–13, and cause-specific mortality scenarios to 2030 and 2035.
We estimated the distributions of causes of child mortality separately for neonates and children aged 1–59 months. To generate cause-specific mortality fractions, we included new vital registration and verbal autopsy data. We used vital registration data in countries with adequate registration systems. We applied vital registration-based multicause models for countries with low under-5 mortality but inadequate vital registration, and updated verbal autopsy-based multicause models for high mortality countries. We used updated numbers of child deaths to derive numbers of deaths by causes. We applied two scenarios to derive cause-specific mortality in 2030 and 2035.
Of the 6·3 million children who died before age 5 years in 2013, 51·8% (3·257 million) died of infectious causes and 44% (2·761 million) died in the neonatal period. The three leading causes are preterm birth complications (0·965 million [15·4%, uncertainty range (UR) 9·8−24·5]; UR 0·615–1·537 million), pneumonia (0·935 million [14·9%, 13·0–16·8]; 0·817–1·057 million), and intrapartum-related complications (0·662 million [10·5%, 6·7–16·8]; 0·421–1·054 million). Reductions in pneumonia, diarrhoea, and measles collectively were responsible for half of the 3·6 million fewer deaths recorded in 2013 versus 2000. Causes with the slowest progress were congenital, preterm, neonatal sepsis, injury, and other causes. If present trends continue, 4·4 million children younger than 5 years will still die in 2030. Furthermore, sub-Saharan Africa will have 33% of the births and 60% of the deaths in 2030, compared with 25% and 50% in 2013, respectively.
Our projection results provide concrete examples of how the distribution of child causes of deaths could look in 15–20 years to inform priority setting in the post-2015 era. More evidence is needed about shifts in timing, causes, and places of under-5 deaths to inform child survival agendas by and beyond 2015, to end preventable child deaths in a generation, and to count and account for every newborn and every child.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Lancet 09/2014; 385(9966). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61698-6 · 45.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Community-based health insurance has been associated with increased hospitalisation in low-income settings, but with limited analysis of the illnesses for which claims are submitted. A review of claims submitted to VimoSEWA, an inpatient insurance scheme in Gujarat, India, found that fever, diarrhoea and hysterectomy, the latter at a mean age of 37 years, were the leading reasons for claims by adult women. We compared the morbidity, outpatient treatment-seeking and hospitalisation patterns of VimoSEWA-insured women with uninsured women.
We utilised data from a cross-sectional survey of 1,934 insured and uninsured women in Gujarat, India. Multivariable logistic regression identified predictors of insurance coverage and the association of insurance with hospitalisation. Self-reported data on morbidity, outpatient care and hospitalisation were compared between insured and uninsured women.
Age, marital status and occupation of adult women were associated with insurance status. Reported recent morbidity, type of illness and outpatient treatment were similar among insured and uninsured women. Multivariable analysis revealed strong evidence of a higher odds of hospitalisation amongst the insured (OR = 2.7; 95% ci. 1.6, 4.7). The leading reason for hospitalisation for uninsured and insured women was hysterectomy, at a similar mean age of 36, followed by common ailments such as fever and diarrhoea. Insured women appeared to have a higher probability of being hospitalised than uninsured women for all causes, rather than specifically for fever, diarrhoea or hysterectomy. Length of stay was similar while choice of hospital differed between insured and uninsured women.
Despite similar reported morbidity patterns and initial treatment-seeking behaviour, VimoSEWA members were more likely to be hospitalised. The data did not provide strong evidence that inpatient hospitalisation replaced outpatient treatment for common illnesses or that insurance was the primary inducement for hysterectomy in the population. Rather, it appears that VimoSEWA members behaved differently in deciding if, and where, to be hospitalised for any condition. Further research is required to explore this decision-making process and roles, if any, played by adverse selection and moral hazard. Lastly, these hospitalisation patterns raise concerns regarding population health needs and access to quality preventive and outpatient services.
BMC Health Services Research 07/2014; 14(1):320. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-320 · 1.71 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Sub-Saharan Africa over one million newborns die annually. We developed a sustainable and scalable home-based counselling intervention for delivery by community volunteers in rural southern Tanzania to improve newborn care practices and survival. Here we report the effect on newborn care practices one year after full implementation.
All 132 wards in the 6-district study area were randomised to intervention or comparison groups. Starting in 2010, in intervention areas trained volunteers made home visits during pregnancy and after childbirth to promote recommended newborn care practices including hygiene, breastfeeding and identification and extra care for low birth weight babies. In 2011, in a representative sample of 5,240 households, we asked women who had given birth in the previous year both about counselling visits and their childbirth and newborn care practices.
Four of 14 newborn care practices were more commonly reported in intervention than comparison areas: delaying the baby’s first bath by at least six hours (81% versus 68%, OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.2-3.4)), exclusive breastfeeding in the three days after birth (83% versus 71%, OR 1.9 (95% CI 1.3-2.9)), putting nothing on the cord (87% versus 70%, OR 2.8 (95% CI 1.7-4.6)), and, for home births, tying the cord with a clean thread (69% versus 39%, OR 3.4 (95% CI 1.5-7.5)). For other behaviours there was little evidence of differences in reported practices between intervention and comparison areas including childbirth in a health facility or with a skilled attendant, thermal care practices, breastfeeding within an hour of birth and, for home births, the birth attendant having clean hands, cutting the cord with a clean blade and birth preparedness activities.
A home-based counselling strategy using volunteers and designed for scale-up can improve newborn care behaviours in rural communities of southern Tanzania. Further research is needed to evaluate if, and at what cost, these gains will lead to improved newborn survival.
Trial Registration Number NCT01022788 (http://www.clinicaltrials.gov, 2009)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each year almost 3 million newborns die within the first 28 days of life, 2.6 million babies are stillborn, and 287,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. Effective and cost-effective interventions and behaviours for mothers and newborns exist, but their coverage remains inadequate in low- and middle-income countries, where the vast majority of deaths occur. Cost-effective strategies are needed to increase the coverage of life-saving maternal and newborn interventions and behaviours in resource-constrained settings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nearly a decade ago, The Lancet published the Neonatal Survival Series, with an ambitious call for integration of newborn care across the continuum of reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition (RMNCH). In this first of five papers in the Every Newborn Series, we consider what has changed during this decade, assessing progress on the basis of a systematic policy heuristic including agenda-setting, policy formulation and adoption, leadership and partnership, implementation, and evaluation of effect. Substantial progress has been made in agenda setting and policy formulation for newborn health, as witnessed by the shift from maternal and child health to maternal, newborn, and child health as a standard. However, investment and large-scale implementation have been disappointingly small, especially in view of the size of the burden and potential for rapid change and synergies throughout the RMNCH continuum. Moreover, stillbirths remain invisible on the global health agenda. Hence that progress in improvement of newborn survival and reduction of stillbirths lags behind that of maternal mortality and deaths for children aged 1–59 months is not surprising. Faster progress is possible, but with several requirements: clear communication of the interventions with the greatest effect and how to overcome bottlenecks for scale-up; national leadership, and technical capacity to integrate and implement these interventions; global coordination of partners, especially within countries, in provision of technical assistance and increased funding; increased domestic investment in newborn health, and access to specific commodities and equipment where needed; better data to monitor progress, with local data used for programme improvement; and accountability for results at all levels, including demand from communities and mortality targets in the post-2015 framework. Who will step up during the next decade to ensure decision making in countries leads to implementation of stillbirth and newborn health interventions within RMNCH programmes?
The Lancet 07/2014; 384(9938). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60458-X · 45.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Neonatal mortality and morbidity are increasingly recognized as important globally, but detailed estimates of neonatal morbidity from conditions and long-term consequences are yet to be published.
We describe the general methods for systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and modeling used in this supplement, highlighting differences from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD2010) inputs and methods. For five conditions (preterm birth, retinopathy of prematurity, intrapartum-related conditions, neonatal infections, and neonatal jaundice), a standard three-step compartmental model was applied to estimate—by region, for 2010—the numbers of (i) affected births by sex, (ii) postneonatal survivors, and (iii) impaired postneonatal survivors. For conditions included in GBD2010 analyses (preterm birth and intrapartum-related conditions), impairment at all ages was estimated, and disability weights were applied to estimate years lived with disability (YLD) and summed with years of life lost (YLL) to calculate disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
GBD2010 estimated neonatal conditions (preterm birth, intrapartum-related, neonatal sepsis, and “other neonatal”) to be responsible for 202 million DALYs or 8.1% (7.3–9.0%) of the worldwide total. Mortality contributed 95% of the DALYs, and the estimated 26% reduction in neonatal condition DALYs since 1990 is primarily due to a 44% reduction in neonatal mortality rate due to these conditions, counterbalanced by increased numbers of babies born (17%). Impairment following neonatal conditions remained stable globally and is therefore relatively more important, especially in high- and middle-income countries. Crucial data gaps were identified.
These results confirm neonatal conditions as a significant burden, reemphasizing the need to reduce deaths further, to count the linked 2.6 million stillbirths, and to better measure and address their long-term effects.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Rhesus (Rh) disease and extreme hyperbilirubinemia (EHB) result in neonatal mortality and long-term neurodevelopmental impairment, yet there are no estimates of their burden.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were undertaken of national prevalence, mortality, and kernicterus due to Rh disease and EHB. We applied a compartmental model to estimate neonatal survivors and impairment cases for 2010.
Twenty-four million (18% of 134 million live births ≥32 wk gestational age from 184 countries; uncertainty range: 23–26 million) were at risk for neonatal hyperbilirubinemia-related adverse outcomes. Of these, 480,700 (0.36%) had either Rh disease (373,300; uncertainty range: 271,800–477,500) or developed EHB from other causes (107,400; uncertainty range: 57,000–131,000), with a 24% risk for death (114,100; uncertainty range: 59,700–172,000), 13% for kernicterus (75,400), and 11% for stillbirths. Three-quarters of mortality occurred in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Kernicterus with Rh disease ranged from 38, 28, 28, and 25/100,000 live births for Eastern Europe/Central Asian, sub-Saharan African, South Asian, and Latin American regions, respectively. More than 83% of survivors with kernicterus had one or more impairments.
Failure to prevent Rh sensitization and manage neonatal hyperbilirubinemia results in 114,100 avoidable neonatal deaths and many children grow up with disabilities. Proven solutions remain underused, especially in low-income countries.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
In 2010, there were an estimated 15 million preterm births worldwide (<37 wk gestation). Survivors are at risk of adverse outcomes, and burden estimation at global and regional levels is critical for priority setting.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were undertaken to estimate the risk of long-term neurodevelopmental impairment for surviving preterm babies according to the level of care. A compartmental model was used to estimate the number of impaired postneonatal survivors following preterm birth in 2010. A separate model (DisMod-MR) was used to estimate years lived with disability (YLDs) for the global burden of disease 2010 study. Disability adjusted life years (DALYs) were calculated as the sum of YLDs and years of life lost (YLLs).
In 2010, there were an estimated 13 million preterm births who survived beyond the first month. Of these, 345,000 (2.7%, uncertainty range: 269,000–420,000) were estimated to have moderate or severe neurodevelopmental impairment, and a further 567,000 (4.4%, (445,000–732,000)) were estimated to have mild neurodevelopmental impairment. Many more have specific learning or behavioral impairments or reduced physical or mental health. Fewest data are available where the burden is heaviest. Preterm birth was responsible for 77 million DALYs, 3.1% of the global total, of which only 3 million were YLDs.
Most preterm births (>90%) survive without neurodevelopmental impairment. Developing effective means of prevention of preterm birth should be a longer term priority, but major burden reduction could be made immediately with improved coverage and quality of care. Improved newborn care would reduce mortality, especially in low-income countries and is likely to reduce impairment in survivors, particularly in middle-income settings.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Intrapartum hypoxic events (“birth asphyxia”) may result in stillbirth, neonatal or postneonatal mortality, and impairment. Systematic morbidity estimates for the burden of impairment outcomes are currently limited. Neonatal encephalopathy (NE) following an intrapartum hypoxic event is a strong predictor of long-term impairment.
Linear regression modeling was conducted on data identified through systematic reviews to estimate NE incidence and time trends for 184 countries. Meta-analyses were undertaken to estimate the risk of NE by sex of the newborn, neonatal case fatality rate, and impairment risk. A compartmental model estimated postneonatal survivors of NE, depending on access to care, and then the proportion of survivors with impairment. Separate modeling for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD2010) study estimated disability adjusted life years (DALYs), years of life with disability (YLDs), and years of life lost (YLLs) attributed to intrapartum-related events.
In 2010, 1.15 million babies (uncertainty range: 0.89–1.60 million; 8.5 cases per 1,000 live births) were estimated to have developed NE associated with intrapartum events, with 96% born in low- and middle-income countries, as compared with 1.60 million in 1990 (11.7 cases per 1,000 live births). An estimated 287,000 (181,000–440,000) neonates with NE died in 2010; 233,000 (163,000–342,000) survived with moderate or severe neurodevelopmental impairment; and 181,000 (82,000–319,000) had mild impairment. In GBD2010, intrapartum-related conditions comprised 50.2 million DALYs (2.4% of total) and 6.1 million YLDs.
Intrapartum-related conditions are a large global burden, mostly due to high mortality in low-income countries. Universal coverage of obstetric care and neonatal resuscitation would prevent most of these deaths and disabilities. Rates of impairment are highest in middle-income countries where neonatal intensive care was more recently introduced, but quality may be poor. In settings without neonatal intensive care, the impairment rate is low due to high mortality, which is relevant for the scale-up of basic neonatal resuscitation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This second paper in the Born Too Soon supplement presents a review of the epidemiology of preterm birth, and its burden globally, including priorities for action to improve the data. Worldwide an estimated 11.1% of all livebirths in 2010 were born preterm (14.9 million babies born before 37 weeks of gestation), with preterm birth rates increasing in most countries with reliable trend data. Direct complications of preterm birth account for one million deaths each year, and preterm birth is a risk factor in over 50% of all neonatal deaths. In addition, preterm birth can result in a range of long-term complications in survivors, with the frequency and severity of adverse outcomes rising with decreasing gestational age and decreasing quality of care. The economic costs of preterm birth are large in terms of immediate neonatal intensive care, ongoing long-term complex health needs, as well as lost economic productivity. Preterm birth is a syndrome with a variety of causes and underlying factors usually divided into spontaneous and provider-initiated preterm births. Consistent recording of all pregnancy outcomes, including stillbirths, and standard application of preterm definitions is important in all settings to advance both the understanding and the monitoring of trends. Context specific innovative solutions to prevent preterm birth and hence reduce preterm birth rates all around the world are urgently needed. Strengthened data systems are required to adequately track trends in preterm birth rates and program effectiveness. These efforts must be coupled with action now to implement improved antenatal, obstetric and newborn care to increase survival and reduce disability amongst those born too soon.
Reproductive Health 11/2013; 10(Suppl 1):S2. DOI:10.1186/1742-4755-10-S1-S2 · 1.88 Impact Factor