There is a pressing need to mitigate the dangers associated with premature birth.

Between January and September 2023, the Windhoek Central Hospital Neonatal Unit admitted 620 pre-term newborns, including referrals from different parts of Namibia.

Of these figures, 76 premature newborns unfortunately died, with preterm birth being the primary cause.

54% of newborn deaths in Namibia are attributed to preterm birth and low birth weight.

While some mothers look forward to healthy babies, it is the opposite for others who witness their newborns being carried away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) until they have developed enough to survive on their own.

This was the reality for 24-year-old Usuta Kauta, who gave birth to a baby girl at 32 weeks, weighing just 1.7 kilogrammes.

Kauta narrates that she was consumed by a lot of anger, heartbroken, and confused, but now has a different story to tell filled with hope as her baby is healthy at almost four months.

Premature infants who do survive often face a lifetime of disability, infections, and underdeveloped organs and may suffer from vision and hearing impairment.

24-year-old Gurschzon Van Wyk was born a preterm baby, and the journey was a fragile one.

He had to navigate through life with caution, especially with his asthmatic condition.

As if that isn't much, Van Wyk temporarily lost his sight in grade 10 and had to drop out of school.

He now strives to become a beacon of hope for other preterm individuals.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services observed World Prematurity Day, which is annually observed on November 17th, as a global movement to raise awareness of premature births and the devastating impact they can have on mothers and families.



Celma Ndhikwa