Hospital reiterates commitment to improving lives of premature babies

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Antigua and Barbuda has joined the world in marking Prematurity Awareness Month (Photo contributed)
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“Prematurity is everyone’s business.” Those were the words of Dr Shivon Belle-Jarvis, head of the Paediatric Department at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, to mark Prematurity Awareness Month which is being observed globally in recognition of the 30 million babies worldwide born prematurely each year.

“It is a global problem. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Antigua and Barbuda joining the global movement with activities, special events and, most importantly, committing to action to help address premature birth, and help improve the lives of preterm babies and their families,” Dr Belle-Jarvis said.

She explained that the observance is also an opportune time to “reflect on our unique challenges and victories and recognise the need for continued quality improvement in the care that we deliver”.

“We continue to be encouraged by the support received from our families and the community. Our recently held Prematurity Walk saw over 100 participants – our NICU graduates and their families, staff and many others – coming out and successfully completing the annual trek from the Police Recreation Grounds to Merryland Amusement Park,” she said.

“For us to continue our work, it takes a dedicated team and partners who believe in our mission, and for this we want to thank them. Our partners for the Prematurity Walk this year included Baby Beanz Boutique, Wishing Well Inc., Sandals Grande Antigua and Total Imports.”

Dr Belle-Jarvis issued a clarion call to expectant women to have at least eight visits with their health care provider during pregnancy.

“Preventing deaths and complications from preterm births starts with a healthy pregnancy,” she added.

“The nation’s hospital, Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, remains committed to ensuring that no baby born too soon is left behind.”

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