The Department of Health-Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) in Bicol is encouraging pregnant women to go for quality care during the pregnancy period to prevent premature birth.
Dr. Rita Mae Ang-Bon, Head of the Family Health Cluster of DOH-CHD, in an interview on Monday, said that pregnant moms should take care of themselves and avoid getting sick to be able to carry their babies through full term.
“Dapat alagaan ang nanay na di magkasakit during pregnancy. Pinaka at-risk sa preterm birth ay yung mga nanay na bata pa, may sakit sa puso, hypertension, diabetes, HIV o iba pang sakit,” (Pregnant women should be taken care off to prevent sickness. Mostly at risk are those young mothers, with heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, HIV, and other kind of diseases), she said.
Ang-Bon also advised that premature babies must not be given formula milk but only breastmilk.
Based on records, from January to September this year, 544 out of 34,704 livebirths in Bicol are premature.
Possible causes of preterm babies, Ang-Bon said, are mostly “because of diseases and infections, like preeclampsia during pregnancy and infections like urinary tract infection (UTI)”.
Premature babies are also at a greater risk of having disorders and diseases, and might face a lifetime of disability and health problems that affect the brain, lungs, hearing or vision. The World Health Organization (WHO) said many survivors of preterm birth have learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems.
To detect early in an infant’s life possible hearing problems or hearing loss, the DOH has an existing program for Universal Newborn Hearing Screening.
In Bicol, hearing screening of babies is available in different hospitals such as the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital (BRTTH), Bicol Medical Center (BMC), Bicol Region General Hospital and Geriatric Medical Center (BRGHGMC), other private health facilities, district hospitals, and birthing centers all over the region.
The World Prematurity Day is being observed every 17th of November. (PNA)