Preventing Premature Birth

Premature Birth – infant mortality and lifelong disability

Each year, some 15 million babies in the world, more than one in 10 births, are born too early. More than one million of those babies die shortly after birth; countless others suffer some type of lifelong physical, neurological, or educational disability, often at great cost to families and society.
Born too Soon ReportThe World Health Organisation,

This is not just in developing countries. In the United States, for example, nearly 12 out of every 100 babies born in 2010 were premature. The annual societal economic cost in 2005 (medical, educational and lost productivity combined) associated with preterm birth in the United States was at least $26.2 billion.

In the USA, premature birth is seen as a national health crisis affecting 1 in 9 babies. Nearly half a million babies are born too soon each year. Premature birth can lead to long-term health problems and lifelong disabilities. It is the leading cause of death during the first month of life and causes developmental delays, cerebral palsy, blindness and intellectual disabilities.

An astronomical cost to society, business and families

Premature birth also has a major impact on business. It affects almost 11 percent of babies covered by employer health plans and places a multibillion-dollar burden on business, with employers billed more than $12 billion annually in excess health care costs.

It also costs individual companies thousands of dollars in absenteeism and lost productivity. The emotional impact of premature birth on families is high— and the cost to businesses is astronomical.

Childbirth and newborn care are a big part of employers’ health insurance costs, representing the most expensive conditions billed to commercial insurers for hospital care and accounting for 7 of the top 10 individual hospital procedures billed.
March of Dimes Report, 2013, Premature birth, The financial impact on business pdf

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