How You May Support KLINC & World Prematurity Day 2017

Dear Supporter,

November 17th had been chosen worldwide as a day of observance to promote prematurity awareness. The first global celebration was initiated in the year 2010 in collaboration with voluntary organisations. It started at a smaller scale in 2008, initiated by parents of preterm infants in Rome, Italy. The 2012 Global Action Report on Prematurity reported an estimated 15 million premature births each year. Prematurity, defined as birth before 37 completed gestation weeks is the second leading cause of newborn mortality. A survival gap is seen in that 90% of premature infants from the low income countries die compared to 10% of infants from the developed nations. The United Nations-World Health Organisation (UN-WHO) has initiated 8 millenium developmental goals, the fourth and fifth goals being to reduce infant and under-5 years of age mortality of which prematurity is a major cause, and to reduce maternal mortality respectively.

Being born too soon has profound health and socioeconomic implications. This is not only seen at the initial stages of neonatal care, in fact, its effects may be long lasting. Being delivered preterm means that each organ will develop outside the confines of the mother’s womb for about a third of its development process. Preterm care involves assisting the preterm infant to develop in the best possible way, without the assistance of the nourishing placenta. This development journey is gruelling, and inundated with worrisome challenges. These challenges affect the development of each organ - the brain is challenged by the likelihood of bleed and development changes causing spasticity of the limbs, the blood vessels within the eye may be affected, causing potential visual handicap, and the architecture of the lungs may become disrupted causing hyperactive airways. Prematurity is amongst the leading causes of cerebral palsy. Social difficulties in addition can be immense in terms of daily travel for the parent, financial burden and care of the other children at home while mother is with baby. Maternal child bonding may be affected if mother is unable to be with the preterm baby who is often hospitalised for a month or more. These can result in emotional and physical stress for the parents without family support.

The University of Malaya, the Perinatal Society of Malaysia and the College of Paediatrics, Academy of Medicine Malaysia are honoured to organise the second conference on neonatology in conjunction with World Prematurity Day; supported by keynote speakers from Australia, Europe, South Korea and the United States of America. The conference aims to promote continuous medical education and encourage a nourishing exchange of experiences in neonatal healthcare and parental experiences of the care of the premature baby. The conference will involve networking and corroboration with renowned international clinicians and researchers in the field of Neonatology.

It is thus with fervent hope that corporate bodies, industries and individuals within the community will help enhance perinatal care for preterm infants by supporting our KL International Neonatology Conference and World Prematurity Day event. Your support is very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely,