Italy is among the countries with the lowest mortality rate in the world of very premature babies: childcare is essential
November 17. All over the world, the Day dedicated to prematurity is celebrated, for all newborns, and there are many who are in a hurry to be born. The figures say important things, also and above all for Italy, also considering the impact of Covid-19.
Every year about 15 million premature babies are born in the world, i.e. before the 37th week of gestation, in Italy over 30,000, 6.9% of births, a rate that with the pandemic has increased to 11.2% in deliveries by women with Sars-Cov-2 infection.
Italy is among the countries with the lowest mortality rate in the world of very premature babies, i.e. weighing less than 1500 grams (11.9% Italian average by the INNSIN Network compared to the international average of 14.6% in Vermont Oxford Network).
What has changed with the pandemic
Premature birth, of course, is an event that can lead to worries and anxieties in parents. But in addition to the statistics that show that assistance to children in a hurry is a key factor – and in this sense the national structures are certainly at the forefront – it should be remembered that there are many elements to consider.
“The causes of the mortality of these premature babies cannot be found only in the network of birth points” explains the President of the Italian Society of Neonatology (SIN) Dr. Luigi Orfeo.
There are many and different factors that influence the outcome of a preterm birth such as the incidence of poverty, accessibility to treatment and prevention, the lack of services and infrastructures in disadvantaged areas, paths to accompany pregnancy that are not very widespread, etc. . We neonatologists do our best to improve the network of Italian birth centers and we are committed to guaranteeing parental access without time limitations, to Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), where preterm babies are transferred and where they can also stay For me yes; to continue to promote the importance of breastfeeding and the donation of breast milk, through the Donated Human Milk Banks (BLUD) and for the recognition of Neonatal Follow-up Services “.
Between the autumn of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, SIN, thanks to its two Study Groups of Neonatal Care and Quality of Care and Vivere Onlus, conducted the national survey on neonatal care practices during pandemic from Covid-19, which involved level II Italian birth centers.
From this analysis it emerged that, after an initial period of uncertainty due to the lack of knowledge about Covid-19, the centers, which before the impact of the pandemic were more “open” to parents, have continued to be so, balancing the needs of safety, with paths that guaranteed parental contact.
SIN has, in fact, immediately supported the departments with precise and timely indications aimed at preventing Covid-19 infection, such as the use of masks, correct hand hygiene, triage with temperature control, but always supporting the entry and closeness of parents in TIN.
The access of the unsuspecting woman for Covid-19 to the NICU or to the Neonatal Pathology ward has practically always been guaranteed (98.9% of the centers). In particular, in 54.4% the duration or frequency of accesses remained the same as in the pre-epidemic period, in the remaining 44.4% of cases they suffered a reduction.
Before the pandemic, 71% of centers guaranteed mothers free access 24 hours a day, while 20% allowed access for more than 6 hours, while the remaining 8.9% at defined times for less than 6 hours . Kangaroo Mother Care, essential for the development of preterm births and for the early start of breastfeeding, was practiced or encouraged in 67.8% of the centers, reduced in duration or frequency in 31% of the centers, suspended only in ‘1.1% of cases.
It is important to keep the baby close to the mother
On the occasion of the World Prematurity Day, at the invitation of the Italian Society of Neonatology (SIN) and Vivere Onlus National Coordination of Associations for Neonatology, over 200 squares, monuments and hospitals throughout Italy will be illuminated in purple to raise public awareness and Preterm Birth Institutions.
The theme of this year’s campaign is Zero separation, “Let’s act now. Do not separate premature babies from their parents ”, promoted by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), to continue defending the priority role of mom and dad, even more so in the Covid period.