In 2017 over 130 premature babies were treated in the Caritas Baby Hospital

The World Premature Babies Day, which is on November 17, has become an important day of the year, because it puts focus on different challenges regarding premature babies. Across the world, approximately one in ten babies is born prematurely. In the Caritas Baby Hospital alone, around 130 premature babies have been treated in 2017.

Approximately five to ten percent of all children are premature babies, which means they were born before the 37th week of pregnancy. They often weigh considerably less than 2500 grams. Their bodily functions are not developed good enough in order for them to be able to survive without medical care. In the West Bank too, the need is great for intensive medical care for premature babies. Many affected families thus come to the Caritas Baby Hospital, which is the only solely paediatric hospital in the region. This year, already 130 premature babies received medical care.

“Professional medical support of those born prematurely plays a crucial role in their development. Also, it is of utmost importance to monitor them carefully as any minor infection can end deadly for premature babies,” explains Dr Hiyam Marzouqa, Head Physician of the Caritas Baby Hospital. On average, premature babies receive five weeks of medical care in the hospital before they can be discharged home. The medical support is extremely costly. Aside from expensive medication, the newborns receive physiotherapy as early as possible in order to strenghten their lungs or to promote the sucking reflex.

Because there is no supporting health insurance system in Palestine, a large part of the treatment is paid with donations.