WORLD PREMATURITY DAY
World Prematurity Day has been observed worldwide on 17 November since 2011. Its aim is to raise awareness of preterm birth and the concerns of preterm babies and their families. The idea behind WPD was born in Rome, Italy, during the first meeting of the European Parents’ Organisations supporting EFCNI (the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants), held in 2008. The date of November 17th was chosen because of the strong emotional meaning this day has for one of EFCNI founders: after the decease of his preterm triplets in 2006, 17 November 2008 was the day he finally welcomed a healthy baby girl into his family. The first International Prematurity Awareness Day was held in 2009, and the name of the event was officially changed to World Prematurity Day in 2011.
As of today, 14.9 million babies a year are born preterm worldwide - which makes for more than 11% of all newborns. Despite the advancements in medicine and chances of a normal life for the infants, preterm birth is still the first cause of death of under five years of age all around the world.
"Nativity of the Virgin", illumination from a French processional, ms. Lewis E 7, f. 116v, 1515, Free Library of Philadelphia.