5 lakh preterm babies born in Bangladesh annually -The Asian Age

Over 4.5 lakhs premature and underweight babies take birth in Bangladesh annually. Of them, around 23,600 babies die before their age turns five, according to health ministry.

Malnutrition of pregnant mothers, child marriage, diabetics of mother, smoking and environment pollution are the main reasons of giving birth to such premature and underweight babies, said child health specialists.

If the time gap between giving birth to two babies is less than 2 years, the second baby may be premature or goes underweight, said Professor Dr. Abdul Mannan, child specialist of BSMMU If any woman is habituated to consume alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy, the baby may take birth with different types of health complexities, "We must give priority to preventing delivery of premature and underweight babies, Dr. Abdul Mannan.

Regular breast feeding is very essential to cure infant babies from different kind of health complexities. Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque at a programme recently said delivering premature babies has become a common phenomenon in Bangladesh.

The government through different public hospital is providing necessary healthcare facilities to the pregnant women. Besides, special care and facilities have been arranged in different government hospital to provide proper treatment to premature babies, he said.

The system was first introduced in Bangladesh in 1990. Now, the service is available at different government and non-government hospitals in the capital, doctors informed.

Besides, proper care and treatment of pregnant mothers can resist delivering premature babies, they think. If a girl child is married before 18, when her body is not become fit to conceive, So, it is very natural that the girl will give birth to a premature baby, said child rights experts.

15 million premature and underweight children take birth which is 5 percent of the total delivery in the world. More than 60% of preterm births occur in Africa and South Asia. It happens due to complications of preterm birth. On the other hand, many survivors face a lifetime of disability, including bearing learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems, WHO shows in its study.

Public awareness about healthcare of pregnant mother and empowerment of women is very important to combat the problem, they said. Awareness and proper care can reduce the premature child mortality rate by 70 to 80 percent, child health specialists said.

Sufficient care by mother and KMC system is very effective to protect premature babies. Different medical studies recently showed that babies become normal quicker by KMC system treatment than treatment in incubator, said the medical experts.