The Ashanti regional Newborn Coordinator at the Ghana Heath Service (GHS), Dr Rita Fosu-Yeboah, has said the region recorded about 12,700 premature births in 2016.
She said the region has so far recorded about 11, 000 of such preterm births this year.
She made this known at a ceremony to observe the World Prematurity Day which was aimed at creating awareness on issues bothering prematurity. The programme was held in Kumasi on Friday, November 17, 2017 under the theme: “Let them thrive: respectful care for the smallest”.
In Ghana, she said about 128,000 babies are born too soon each year while the worldwide figures is approximately 15 million.
She indicated that 60 percent of children who die under the age of five is as a result of prematurity and its complications.
“So, if you want to reduce our under five death, then as a country we must focus on our preterm births so that, that contributing factor of 60 percent can be reduced,” she added.
She continued: “It is said that in low income countries and middle income countries like ours, when a child is born before 28 completed weeks, 90percent of these children will die as oppose to less than 10percent of these babies when they are delivered in high income countries.
And surprisingly, for the high income countries one of the key things that have been able to do to reduce their prematurity death is kangaroo mother care”
The Ashanti regional Director of the GHS, Dr Emmanuel K. Tinkorang, also advised against teenage pregnancy which is a major cause of preterm births.