In 2010 many people around the globe joined us in celebrating the 2nd International Prematurity Awareness Day on November 17. A multitude of events brought problems and risks in the development of preterm babies as well as the needs of their families to the public.
We wish to thank all those who celebrated this day with us or your high commitment and dedication in the fight against prematurity.
Out of the many uncountable acitvities that took place, we have highlighted some that we would like to present here:
Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ouders van Couveusekinderen
There was a solidarity action in four maternity services asking parents of at term born babies to wear a green badge – colour of hope and future. This way they supported all preterm babies and their parents and ask to improve and extend the care for the most vulnerable newborns.
The VVOC gave all parents on the NICUs a nice linen bag with the slogan of the organisation.
All the NICUs organised an information desk at the entrance of the hospital and they often did something special for the parents on the ward e.g. a lesson on baby massage, babysitting service for the brothers and sisters.
Charitable organization ZRNKA, BabyKlokánci (GRAINS, BabyKangaroos) in collaboration with the theatre, "Divadlo 29" organized a beneficial performance for Prematurity Awareness Day 2010 in Pardubice on 17th November 2010, which is associated with public production of caps and other clothing for babies in incubators. Part of this beneficial performance was an exhibition of photos and videos to familiarize oneself with the topic of children born too early or ill. Cooperation with famous Czech actress and singer Zora Jandova was established, who supports BabyKlokánci’s activities. Zora is a producer and singer for children and she offered her song "Kangaroos" to support this Czech organisation. This was announced via Facebook on 17th November 2010 just in time for Prematurity Awareness Day 2010.
A calendar 2011 familiarizing with this topic has been issued and more can be found on:
The Czech organisation Nedoklubko arranged a dinner in Prague where people who have supported preterm infants in many respects were awarded the Purple Preemie Heart. This heart penchant was designed by a Swedish preemie mother 10 years ago and has found many fans in the preemie community.
A holy mass was held by the Hospital Havlickuv Brod together with the Havlickuv Brod charity foundation in memory of deceased and preterm infants as well as infants with illnesses.
Dansk Præmatur Forening
A gift from the heart - The Danish organisation Dansk Præmatur Forening continued a tradition of a gift to families in the neonatal departments across the country. For the families it is a big moment when they can take their children out of the incubator and walk around with them. So this year Dansk Præmatur Forening sent a package with the theme "Close to our hearts" containing specially designed mini-wraps for the smallest babies along with instructions. The group also wrote a special thank you to the personnel for the work they do to help our little ones on their way from an early start in life. Some of the regional coordinators visited their hospitals and helped with demonstrations. In the following weeks we received extra orders for the mini-wraps from other pediatric departments who had heard about them from their neonatal colleagues.
Landsforeningen Præmatures Vilkår
The Danish organisation Landsforeningen Praematures Vilkar joined forces with DFDS, a growing and international ferry company operating throughout Europe in the area of passengers and freight. For the International PAD a Christmas spectacle on board a ferry at Copenhagen attracted about 30 people. This event catered mainly to families with a variety of entertainment being offered. Besides the renowned Danish family group AH ABE appearances by the magician Mr. Mox, a gospel choir and many others took place. Food and refreshments were available on board. Merry Christmas!
Kevyt Keskosvanhempien yhdistyksen
Kevyt, the Finish parents’ organisation held a press conference on November 17 presenting their requirements for a better care of preterm infants and their families.
Sanna Tietäväinen from Kevyt talked about the three major goals of the organisation, which are:
Lisa Lehtonen spoke about the benefits of family-centred care. And the Annual Preemie Award was given to Anna Axelin for her doctoral thesis "Parents as Pain Killers in the Pain Management of Preterm Infants". She has developed and researched a new pain management method called facilitated tucking by parents (FTP).
Her thesis is very interesting, here is a link to it:
On Friday, November 19, a lunch meeting with the network for female Members of the Finnish Parliament took place where once again Kevyt presented itself and its goals for the next years to come.
This year’s highlight was a charity event held in the renowned Theatre Chatelet in Paris. SOS Préma, the French parents organisation received 750 free seats fort he last rehearsal of the internationally acclaimed musical „My Fair Lady“ by the management of the theatre. Tickets were sold to the public and all proceeds will go into the work and projects of SOS Préma. Representatives of the health ministry as well as prominent supporters, volunteers and parents were invited and attended.
Besides this event many others took place locally. A photo exhibition regarding preterm infants was opened in Brest. Balloons flew in to the Sky of Castret in the Pyrenees. The local groups in Laval and Nantes hosted a charity event. And at the Purpan’s hospital in Toulouse a conference regarding prematurity was held.
“ene, mene mini. One baby in ten is born prematurely. Worldwide.” was the motto on November 17, the 2nd International Prematurity Awareness Day. Dräger and EFCNI together with the support of UENPS successfully launched the “ene mene mini” campaign during the last day of the UENPS congress in Istanbul: The congress participants were welcomed under a long clothesline with baby socks that hung in the entrance hall of the congress center and were offered small cleaning tissues for screens and glasses. Many interesting discussions and contacts during that day had their start in the observation that each 10th pair of socks had the small size of “preemie socks”.
Please follow us to the German website "ene, mene, mini.". You are most welcome to add your personal story!
„Das frühgeborene Kind e.V.“
The German association carried out a German-wide activity for International PAD. On November 17 6,000 balloons flew into the Berlin sky representing the approximately 60,000 children born prematurely every year. Other cities and communities throughout Germany attracted attention to the largest children’s patient group with balloons.
Therefore the German association invited all self-help groups and children hospitals to participate in this event in their community. The same number of balloons representing the number of preterm infants born in the respective hospital flew into the German sky at the same time on this day.
Irish Premature Babies
The association organised many activities for the International Prematurity Awareness Day.
An exhibition of stories and photos from families affected by prematurity in Ireland, took place at the St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre from 9.00am on. A tree planting ceremony in St. Stephen’s Green in honour of all the premature babies that are born in Ireland every year, took place kindly supported by the O Georgina Ahern Byrne who turned the first sod on the tree.
A balloon release outside the Mansion House in Dublin was staged. There were pink and blue balloons to highlight the difficult journey premature babies must endure when born. There were white balloons with names of babies who have passed away. This event was kindly supported by the Mansion House, and Dublin City Council. The Lord Mayor of Dublin and Georgina Ahern Byrne released the main balloons.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital had an awareness exhibition and balloon release in Drogheda town centre organised by OLOL Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
There was also a tree planting ceremony in the grounds of the hospital, kindly supported by OLOL hospital.
Vereniging van Ouders van Couveusekinderen
On Prematurity Awareness Day, the Dutch parent organisation celebrated a “Preemie Christmas”, namely five weeks too early. Parents gathered in the middle of the country, at Utrecht central station, with some of its volunteers around a 6-meter high Christmas tree with 10.000 illuminated lights, representing the number of preterm infants born each year the Netherlands. An incubator with a little puppet was placed besides the Christmas tree. 5000 small presents (a small box with sweets) and 5000 cards with a wish were distributed. An average of 200.000 passengers pass the central station every day and presents and wish cards were distributed among them. Passers-by were asked to fill out the card with a wish. The Dutch parent organisation collected the cards and took them to the neonatology wards of hospitals, to parents of preemies who stay with their child.
The main massage that was communicated is that one out of two preemies is confronted with developmental problems after the hospital period. It is common misperception among the general public that problems are restricted to the hospital period. The Vereniging van Ouders van Couveusekinderen hope that the public as well as the media pays attention to this action and will appreciate it.
Little Big Souls
The African organisation which is currently present in Ghana and Nigeria organised a “March for Babies” on the International Prematurity Awareness Day in Abuja/Nigeria in order to raise awareness on prematurity in Africa.
Föräldrarföreningen för prematurfödda barn
The Swedish parents' organisation organised an evening reception on November 17 in Stockholm. The event is mainly aimed at parents of preterm infants and families but representatives from politics, medicine and press attended as well. Martina Frühwald from EFCNI introduced the European Foundation and its work. Together with a Swedish mother of three preterm infants she talked about her experience in Germany and compared the situation in the two countries. Background for this is the benchmarking report published in May 2010 comparing the situation of preterm infants in 13 European countries.
The following panel discussion which mainly circled around the topic of after-care in Sweden, included Dr. Björn Westrup from the Karolinska Hospital in Danderyd, Jessica Fransson from the parents’ organisation in Stockholm and Uppsala, Birgitta Klang from the after care organisation Mama Mia and Filippa Reinfeldt, health politician for the Stockholm area and wife of the Swedish prime minister.
The Vocalettes, a trio of three singers, accompanied the evening with their music including the charity song “Sing me another song”. This song was composed and presented in 2009 by Swedish pianist Robert Wells and Jacob Samuel, singer from the Swedish band The Poodles for EFCNI.
The parents' organisation repared a conference for parents in the Valle Hebron Hospital in Barcelona. The invitations went to families of preterm infants, which were born in the various hospitals and clinics in and around Barcelona. A variety of representatives from the different disciplines talked about prematurity.
March of Dimes
The US organisation issued once again a report card on preterm birth for all US states including Puerto Rico. On the 2010 report card, 17 states earned a “C,” 20 received a “D,” and 13 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico failed. Eight states earned a better grade on the 2010 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card and 32 others and the District of Columbia saw their preterm birth rates improve.http://www.marchofdimes.com/
EFCNI thanks global healthcare company Abbott for supporting the European national parents' organisations in celebrating the second International Prematurity Awareness Day.