FIGO supports World Prematurity Day 2017

Statement from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) on World Prematurity Day 2017 (17 November 2017)

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) reaffirms its support for highlighting World Prematurity Day on 17 November 2017.

FIGO’s overall goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of women and newborn children worldwide. Therefore it is committed to the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.2 that focuses on ending preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age.

Professor C N Purandare, FIGO President, said:

‘There is no doubt that preterm birth is a critical area of concern with regard to newborn, infant and child health - every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm and about one million of them will die as a result. Complication of preterm birth is the leading contributor to death among children under five years worldwide. It is sobering that three quarters of those affected could be saved with accessible, cost-effective interventions such as the administration of corticosteroids, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Kangaroo Mother Care, as examples.

‘FIGO is therefore committed to preventive strategies, which include family planning to increase birth spacing, and increased empowerment of women; improved quality of care before, between and during pregnancy; prevention and screening/management of STIs; education and health promotion for girls and women; promotion of environmental risks such as indoor air pollution; screening and management of pregnant women at highest risk of preterm birth, eg, those with multiple pregnancies, diabetes and high blood pressure; and aggressive management when prior preterm birth has occurred.

‘FIGO has a valuable alliance with March of Dimes - the founder of World Prematurity Day - to look into the causes of and strategies to reduce the burden of preterm birth: the FIGO Working Group on Preterm Birth. It is also committed to encouraging collaborative action between obstetricians, midwives and paediatricians in managing preterm birth. This is illustrated through FIGO’s joint project with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Pediatric Association (IPA) - “Improving the Quality of Maternal and Newborn Healthcare Services Through Accelerated Implementation of the Essential Interventions by the Healthcare Professionals’ Associations”.’

He ended:

‘Focusing on strategies and funding for reducing death and disability caused by premature birth - together with our valued partners - will surely help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.2, and end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age worldwide’.


The March of Dimes ( created World Prematurity Day (17 November) in 2011 to highlight the fact that premature birth is a serious problem around the world.

More than 80 countries participated in World Prematurity Day 2016 with building and landmark lightings, outdoor events, petitions and other demonstrations of support.

Please join MOD as they do everything in their power to support families affected by premature birth and to raise awareness of this urgent global problem.

Please click here to view and download the statement as a PDF