Also in 2011, parents’ organisations and healthcare experts celebrated this particular day with events and activities in order to attract attention.
On the occasion of the first ever celebrated World Prematurity Day, many people around the globe joined us in celebrating November 17. A multitude of events and activities brought problems and risks in the development of preterm babies as well as the needs of their families closer to the public.
We wish to cordially thank all those who celebrated this day with us- for 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:
For the first time the Global Alliance, which unites African, Australian, European and U.S. umbrella associations and organisations, has initiated a World Prematurity Day Facebook fanpage in order to jointly draw attention to the situation of preterm birth worldwide and to honor the 15 million babies born too soon (data:2012). Interested and concerned people found and will continue to find further information and have the opportunity to actively state their interest: http://www.facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay
Thousands of people changed their facebook status on 17 November into:
"I honor the million babies born too soon worldwide who died this year and 12 million more struggling to survive. Join me on World Prematurity Day at http://on.fb.me/nartrr"
EFCNI alongside Dr. Angelika Niebler and Dr. Peter Liese, both Members of the European Parliament, launched the Call to Action for Newborn Health, on Tuesday 22 November and Wednesday 23 November 2011 in Brussels. The Call to Action is based on the recommendations from Caring for Tomorrow: EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health and Aftercare Services in Europe, which was also presented on this occasion.
Following events across the globe to mark World Prematurity Day on 17 November, EFCNI, national parents organisations, healthcare professionals, policy makers and other stakeholders met to discuss the practical steps to ensure harmonised standards of care for preterm infants, and how best to coordinate action to ensure better maternal and neonatal care and the implemention of aftercare services at national level. This year’s conference was held in the European Parliament and the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels.
The Conference was organised in two parts:
In honor of this year’s World Prematurity Day EFCNI will launched in cooperation with the medical and safety company Dräger the first European campaign for preterm and newborn infants. The project “ene, mene, mini. One baby in ten is born premature. Worldwide.” promotes a political "Call to Action for Newborn Health" in 27 different languages. The aim is to improve the care of pregnant women as well as that of preterm and newborn babies and to persuade EU institutions and national governments to finally take care of this subject.
The vote for the 10 demands of the Call to Action is still ongoing.For more information, please click here: www.ene-mene-mini.eu.
This was the motto of a sensitive and emotional event in Düsseldorf on November 17, 2011. The a cappella choir Crashendo (http://www.crashendo.de) from Bochum, Germany and the German, Essen-based chorus Schräglage (http://www.chor-schraeglage.de) symbolically lent preterm babies their voices by singing lullabies to passers-by at the city centre and visitors at the MEDICA trade fair. The human voice is often the only connection between parents and very preterm or preterm babies.
The repertoire of the most popular bedtime songs awakened positive associations of a loving childhood in passers-by, making the campaign for World Prematurity Day 2011 a "resounding" success. The medical and safety technology company Dräger initiated this action to musically draw attention to the European-wide online voting for ten demands on improvements of care at the campaign website "ene, mene, mini”. Together with EFCNI Dräger wants to raise public awareness on the issues of preterm birth and promotes the establishing of European-wide standards of care for preterm infants and newborns.
Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ouders van Couveusekinderen
VVOC puts brothers and sisters in the spotlight and launches a new children’s book “Vroeger dan verwacht”. All parents on the different NICUs and 5 low level units were offered a nice bag containing the new book and other gadgets for the brothers, sisters and parents. All 10 NICUs and some low level units made the sock lines and organised a special activity: information desk, selling cakes, a gift for the parents and others.
These activities were mentioned on 4 radio stations, 3 television channels, 4 newspapers and 30 websites. There were 900 hits in 48 hours on the VVOC website and the activity level of the facebook page rose by more than 2000% in 2 weeks.
In Canaday, a team of physicians, staff, and a family member from the NICU FACT prepared for a week of raising awareness through media, exhibits in all five sites treating premature infants in Edmonton (the University Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Grey Nuns Hospital, Misericordia Hospital and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital), teaching rounds highlighting stories of families who have been touched by prematurity and the important work that is done in Edmonton for prematurely born children.
World Prematurity Day itself finished with a celebration “Christmas” tea at Alberta Health Services. Just as premature babies arrive too early, Christmas, too, was celebrated early. Families who have “graduated” from the special care nurseries and neonatal intensive care units were invited. Funds will were raised for charities supporting children in Edmonton and to extend Wireless Guest Access to families in the nurseries.
Klub roditelja nedonoščadi „ Palčići“
In Croatioa the parents' club of premature babies "Palcici" invited media, parents and the public to jointly celebrate World Prematurity Day and to support the little brave babies who are fighting for their lifes from the first moment of birth.
Following Palcici's slogan "small heart of great courage" a number of activities marked November 17th as World Prematurity Day with the aim to inform and educate parents and to raise public awareness about the many challenges preterm babies and their parents have to cope with. In the cities of Zagreb and Split different events like for example parents' information meetings, lectures, charity sales took place in the city centre and the neonatology departments respectively. Public attention highlights were the performance of the children's choir "Zagrebacki malisani" and the release of balloons equaling the number of preterm babies born in Croatia each year.
Friends of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Association
On the 12th of November an event took place at the biggest mall of Cyprus, with a long clothes line with baby socks, giving flyers and orange balloons to people passing by. At the same time the Cyprus Cycling Federation was riding through Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, giving away information flyers. The event was on the evening prime time news of the 2 biggest and most influential TV stations in Cyprus.
World Prematurity Day was celebrated in the Residence of the city mayor in Prague and included a conference on the topic of prematurity and a corresponding press conference, both organized by the parents' organisation Nedoklubko o.s. and the Czech neonatal society. At Antoninuv-dul-Chapel, a holy mass for preterm children and their families was celebrated on the initiative of the Hospital of Havlickuv Brod, the Charity Havlickuv Brod and Nedoklubko o.s.
Nedoklubko o.s. set the current Guinness World Record with more than 5,000 baby and preemie socks on a cloths line in Prague following the slogan of Europe's first common campaign "one baby in ten is born premature. worldwide".
Dansk Præmatur Forening
When Prematurity Day was introduced, Dansk Præmatur Forening started a tradition with a gift to neonatal units that benefits families. Themed "Thoughts from the Heart", cases of diaries were donated to the units to be freely distributed to parents, grandparents and siblings. Smaller neonatal units got 175-200 books, larger hospitals got up to 500 books, with free reorder possibility. Included were purple mini-socks in two sizes, knitted by grandparents of preemies as a token of their thanks. A card thanked the units for the work they do every day for our precious children.
Simultaneously, information packages were sent to daycare institutions and schools in several municipalities with ideas on how to support premature children. Dansk Præmatur Forening launched its new website design. The association's chairman was interviewed by national media regarding a grant received by Rigshospitalet for a European study with the aim of reducing brain damage among preemies.
The "little red sock" on tourist tour through Paris: Pictures of the little red sock taken in front of famous monuments in Paris like the Eiffel Tower, the Ministry of Health, the Parliament or the Arc de Triomphe, combined with several local events marked the World Prematurity Day celebrations in France.
SOS Préma Headquarters in Paris held a press conference with 30 journalists covering the topic "A difficult way to parenthood from a clinical and a psychological perspective". Additionally, the results of a survey “How much do French know about prematurity” conducted by Opinion Way Institute among 1,000 individuals were presented to the public. As a gesture for the first pan-European campaign "ene mene mini", each journalist received a knitted sock: 27 white ones in regular birth size and 3 preterm sized red socks.
A gala dinner for 200 paying guests took place in Paris under the high patronage of Xavier Bertrand, French Minister of Health, and his wife. Also present were Claude Greff, French Secretary of Family, and David Douillet, French Minister of Sports (and Worldwide Champion of Judo born premature himself).
The local correspondent groups of SOS Préma organised several local events across the country like for example conferences, concerts, theatre shows, charity runs or photo exhibitions.
Bundesverband das Frühgeborene Kind e.V.
Parents groups and healthcare professionals throughout Germany celebrated this year's World Permaturity Day 2011 with many very inspiring activities and events.
To highlight only some of the many inspiring activities organised by the national parent group Bundesverband das Frühgeborene Kind e.V. in Frankfurt:
Opening of a foto-exhibition with the photographer Walter Schels from Hamburg entitled "ÜberLeben - von zu früh geborenen Kindern" on 17 November, followed by readings of two Preemie-mothers, who wrote down their experiences and a Preemie-Familyday with events for kids and possibility for parents to talk to some experts how to support their kids.
Irish Premature Babies
"Positive Steps for Prematurity", Irelands inaugural Benchmark Report commenting on the status of Neonatal Health was launched by Irish Premature Babies and the Neonatal Sub-Committee supported by EFCNI and Abbott. The report is the first collaborative work between the patient organisation and health professionals and will be used as a blueprint to shape the future of Neonatal Health in Ireland ,"Tiny Footprints" a compilation of 80 stories of prematurity was launched and is available for sale on our website, a balloon release commemorating all our little miracles took place in Dublin City, and a National Coffee Morning took place to raise awareness of Preterm Birth in Ireland.
On the occasion of World Prematurity Day in Lithuania, the Gouvernment House in Vilnius hosted a preterm/ newborn foto exhibition while at Santariskiu Hospital a press conference was held under the patronage of Nijole Drazdiene, Director of Neonatology, with representatives of the government, sponsors and preemie parents involved.
CSO Lulka - Organisation for the care and education of pregnant women, mothers and children
On the occasion of World Prematurity Day, Lulka virtually promoted the EFCNI events, goals and call for action as well as the online-voting start of the pan-European campaign "ene, mene, mini" on 17th November. Lulka represented the first organisation of its kind to organize such an event in Macedonia.
To increase national-wide awareness on the impact of prematurity, Lulka also spread the word on World Prematurity Day through Facebook.
Con Amor Vencerás, Primero lo Primero
This year was the first time that Mexico celebrates the World Prematurity Day, and at the same time Mexico’s fight for preemie and birth defects Association called “Con Amor Vencerás (CAV), Primero lo Primero" was launched. The event was held at the Spanish Hospital in Mexico City with more than 80 people including preemies, families and doctors.
The event was comprised by several activities: A catholic mass in the Chapel of the Hospital to thank and pray for all the preemies, children with birth defects as well as for the launching of CAV. The liberation of purple balloons as a sign of honor and respect for all the people that have been through a preemie or birth defect process and to raise awareness. And last but not least, the official launch of CAV presenting its objectives and mission as well as highlighting information about preemie and birth defect problems.
Vereniging van Ouders van Couveusekinderen
In 75 hospitals, including all ten NICUs, attention was paid to World Prematurity Day. Lines with ten socks were placed at prominent spots at the Neonatology departments, along with a poster and with take home cards containing a message about awareness and drawing attention to the Dutch parent organization (VOC). In some hospitals VOC was present in the central hall with a booth, also with sock line(s) and posters. Parents (VOC volunteers) handed over attention cards to visitors, patients and hospital employees.
This year World Prematurity Day was also the starting point of another - structural - VOC activity, called “The Week of the Preemie”. All (90) Neonatology departments received boxes containing presents (a pair of socks) for the babies (referring at the sock event during WPDay) and for the parents the latest issue of the VOC magazine with "Bonding" as central theme. In total by this activity over 2000 parents were reached.
Prematurforeningen started the planning of the World Prematurity Day by preparing a press release. The press release lead to several news paper articles, and on 17th of November there were two TV interviews in the most popular morning channels (God Morgen Norge and Morgennytt NRK). The interviews were held with a father of twin preemies in Prematurforeningen and Prof. Dr. Ola Didrik Saugstad. Posters were also prepared and sent to hospitals for them to mark the day. According to the messages on the wall of Prematurforeningen's Facebook group, several hospitals did make events that day and individuals arranged own local meetings in several parts of the country. PR was also made before the day, both at the own website and via Facebook group.
Fundacja Wcześniak Rodzice-Rodzicom
High press and media attention on World Prematurity Day and the topic of prematurity was raised by articles, TV interviews and continued presence of the topic in the Polish prime time news.
A special insert on prematurity in “Rzeczpospolita”, the second largest newspaper in Poland at the end of November secured high media presence for the Wcześniak Rodzice-Rodzicom Foundation, whilest drawing public attention to World Prematurity Day and to the EFCNI launch event at the European Parliament in Brussels.
Website, social media and mailing activities complemented the awareness efforts in Poland.
XXS-Associação Portuguesa de Apoio ao Bebé Prematuro
XXS celebrated this year's World Prematurity Day together with one of Portugal's biggest maternity wards (Maternity Dr. Alfredo da Costa). More than 100 children born in that hospital unit along with their families and health professionals were invited to attend a music, dance and theater show including the reading of a children’s book called “Bebé XXS” by a famous author.
After two and a half months of campaigning, "Battle for the Babies" collected more than one million Euros enabling the urgently needed replacement of incubators in hospitals, some of wich are 35 or 40 years old. In Serbia, the World Prematurity Day was also declared The Victory Day, since more than 160 new incubators have been bought and a huge amount of money has been collected for the renovation of the NICU in the Institute of Neonatology in Belgrade. The celebration of World Prematurity Day was organized in the National Parlament, under the patronage of the President of Serbia, and special medals were awarded to the major donors as well as activists of the campaign. And the battle didn't stop with this, since the money is still coming in: The campaign will be transformed into a Foundation uniting parents and experts for further activities to help preterm babies and their families.
APREM: Asociación de padres de niños prematuros
APREM celebrated World Prematurity Day in Spain with a big event that took place in Madrid (Hospital Universitario de la Paz). Families, professionals (doctors and nurses) and supporters got together with former Real Madrid basketball player Juanma Lopez Iturriaga to hang on clothes lines hundreds of regular socks and extra-small socks sent by families of babies born premature, the xs-socks had the name of the baby, weight and weeks of pregnancy written on it. Several children read the EU Declaration of rights of the hospitalized children and hundreads of ballons were released to honor all those children that are no longer with us. A magician closed the celebration with a great session for the youngest while the rest of the people enjoyed the amusements, drinks and snacks provided by sponsors such as Coca-Cola or McDonalds.
In Alicante the celebration took place in the General Hospital. Emilia Perez from AVAPAREM talked about the care of newborns and their families. Ana Alós from PREMATURA summarized the legal protection system for maternity in Spain from a labor and social security perspective. PREMATURA and AVAPREM have reached an agreement to consolidate the cooperation started last year and to achieve a formal alliance. The effort will continue devoted to promote cooperation among entities and to set up structures that can coordinate all our efforts.
In Barcelona a joyful celebration was organized at Valle Hebrón Hospital with families, parents, doctors and nurses who joined all together in the maternity hall. Teresa Pi Sunyer and Ana Alós talked on behalf of PREMATURA, sharing a message of hope, thankfulness and a call to action. Once the speeches had finished, balloons were launched in memoriam of all preemies that are not with us any more. Both events were a great success that helped to raise awareness about prematurity, the newborns, their families and all the people that on a day to day basis work to improve their lives.
Föräldraföreningen för prematurfödda barn
In Sweden a seminar and panel debate were held on the issue of premature children's special needs and challenges in school. Panelists: neonatologist with research focus on premature children in school, local education policy maker in Stockholm, concerned parent, teacher's representative and more. Also two opera singers were perfoming and a photo exhibition "Perspective" showed photos of nine babies at NICU and photos of them today, aged 1 year to 13 years.
El Bebek Gül Bebek
On November 16, 2011, El Bebek Gül Bebek collaborated with the Turkish Neonatology Foundation in order to celebrate the First World Prematurity Day in Ankara. To raise awareness regarding prematurity, clothes lines with preemies socks and hats were put out as part of a simultaneous action all around the world in the garden of Zekai Tahir Burak hospital which has the largest neonatology unit for newborn babies in Ankara. A press release was given by the Turkish representative Türkan Dağaslan who was a NICU doctor formerly. Afterwards a cocktail party was prepared in the hospital where parents of preemies met with doctors and nurses under the sponsorship of Abbott. During the cocktail reception press and media interviewed former preemies, members of the parent organization and the neonatology board. Live broadcast through NTV was made and interviews were released regarding the importance of the day and the needs of newborn babies and their parents in Turkey.
March of Dimes
The US celebrated the "Prematurity Awareness Month"
Amongst many many activities, the March of Dimes released its fourth annual Premature Birth Report Card, was present on social medias (facebook, twitter, bloggers unite etc.), invited people to ask congress to support the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, ...
One highlight certainly was the Empire State Building lit in purple to honour November 17 as special day in New York City.
EFCNI thanks global healthcare company Abbott for supporting the European national parents' organisations in celebrating this first World Prematuity Day.