Message from a Preterm Baby in Niger

I do not have a name yet, even though I was born almost two months ago. While all human beings celebrate a date, a period, a time, I celebrate every day with the grams gained since my birth. Indeed, when I was born weighing 900g, I had a risk of dying like my six brothers and sisters, whom I did not know and who were all born premature like me in our village where there was no appropriate care for them. My mother got married at 16, and by 24 years of age had seven pregnancies including two abortions and five premature deliveries with no baby surviving beyond the first few days. I must say that I am a miracle, because at two months of age, I broke the record of fraternal longevity. In addition, I celebrate a 1 kilo of weight today. All the doctors and nurses, and even my father and mother were happy to see me growing up. Thank you to all those who are taking care of me live. I dream to be strong enough!

Admitted to the hospital, Souéba was in labour after only 26 weeks of pregnancy. She gave birth to a premature girl weighing 1000g, who was hospitalized in neonatal and kangaroo unit of the Mother and Child Centre, which receives UNICEF support for small and sick newborns. Fifteen days after birth, the newborn’s condition had deteriorated and she weighed only 700g. However, but with intensive treatment, including kangaroo mother care, the child has just reached 1000g again and her prognosis is positive.

All the family’s hope lies in the care team, and this was noted by the father, who asked to keep the newborn baby there for the time it will take. The mother has also not left the hospital, even though she lost her own mother during this time. During the hospital stay, the newborn showed signs of breathing difficulty and early neonatal infection and had to be transferred to an incubator for a period. The Neonatology Unit of the Centre, established with UNICEF Niger’s support, has received 851 new admissions in 9 months since the start of services, including 131 premature babies.

Featured photo: Souéba, a 24-year old mother with her baby girl born at 26 weeks of gestation

About the Author

Dr Marie Marcos, Maternal and Child Specialist, UNICEF, Niger; Dr Georges-Thomas Ibrahim Dit Abraham, Pediatrician at Maridi Mother and Child Center.

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