Sharjah: Aisha, a seven-year-old Emirati girl, stood on the stage at the ‘November Prematurity Awareness Month’ event telling the audience her story which started in April 2006 when she was born three months too soon at 500g.
Currently in the third grade, Aisha Jalal Abdullah is one of many children born prematurely who took part with their parents at the event that took place at the Sharjah Supreme Council for Family Affairs on November 26.
Organised by Sharjah’s Al Qasimi Hospital, the event gathered families raising premature babies with the aim of spreading awareness about the causes behind early deliveries, the challenges facing parents, and the importance of a support system.
Dr Mona Khalaf, a paediatrician at Sharjah’s Al Qasimi Hospital who attended the event, said that while a full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks, babies born prematurely have the highest death rate among infants. “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the world loses one baby to prematurity every 30 seconds,” said Dr Mona.
While babies born prematurely in high-income countries have a 90 per cent chance of survival, Dr Mona pointed out that the high figures are inverted in cases occurring in low-income countries. “It’s sadly the opposite in low-income countries where babies born prematurely have a 90 per cent probability of dying,” she said.
Statistics by the WHO also show that 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world every year, highlighting the condition and the need for more international initiatives. “This awareness event we are all attending today was first celebrated globally in 2011, after the need for awareness about premature babies was raised,” said Dr Mona.
Taking turns to tell their stories, parents and their children shared their experiences, tears, and empathy with other parents in the same shoes.
“I gave birth to quadruplets in the 28th week of my pregnancy. I have triplets now — he loves planes, she loves to sing and dance, and this one is just plain naughty,” said a mother of three as she pointed at her two-year-old triplets racing around her on the stage.
Before continuing to enjoy the rest of the evening with activities such as a clown show, face painting, and arts and crafts, Aisha reassured the audience before stepping off the stage. “I was born prematurely, but now I am all right, I am OK, and I am healthy.”
© Gulf NewsNov 2013