Families and Staff Gather to Support World Prematurity Day

13 November 2015

On Tuesday 17 November the Taranaki Neonatal Trust is hosting a morning tea at Taranaki Base Hospital to raise awareness of World Prematurity Day and the issues faced by premature babies and their families.

Leigh Cleland, Taranaki DHB Clinical Services Manager Maternal & Child Health said, “The Neonatal Unit at Taranaki DHB has 250 to 300 admissions of sick newborns or babies who need additional care each year. Approximately 100 of these babies are born premature.”

“We see just how hard it is not only for the babies, but also their families, when a baby is born premature, so when we were approached by the Taranaki Neonatal Trust to have the morning tea we were more than happy to show our support,” added Mrs Cleland.

Kelly Fryer, Taranaki Neonatal Trust Chair said “This morning tea is a great chance for families and Taranaki Base Hospital staff who have helped care for them, to get together in support of each other and help raise awareness for World Prematurity Day.”

Premature birth is when a baby is born before the end of the 37th week of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks.  The mortality rate in premature babies is high, with more newborns passing away from premature birth than any other cause.

Those that do survive are born underweight and often face significant health issues that can last into adulthood. These include chronic respiratory diseases and developmental delays.

“The aim of the Taranaki Neonatal Trust is to support families in our region who experience a premature birth and to let the public know what those families go through when a baby is born premature. All members of the Trust have experienced the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) so fundraising and holding support group get-togethers is our way of giving back” said Mrs Fryer. 

Research is being carried out to identify the causes of premature birth and to develop treatments and preventions. However substantial funding is needed to continue this. Raising awareness of premature birth is the first step in raising funds and reducing the rates of premature birth in New Zealand,” Mrs Fryer added.

For more information about the health risks associated with premature births and World Prematurity Day, visit www.neonataltrust.org.nz .


For more information please call

Greer Lean
Communications Advisor
027 801 9084


Last updated: Friday, November 13, 2015

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