Ever since its initiation by the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI) more than 10 years ago, World Prematurity Day on November 17 has become a global movement to raise awareness for preterm birth and its consequences. More than one in ten babies are born preterm every year, and numbers are still increasing worldwide. The immediate and long-term health effects are severe; preterm birth is one of the leading causes of neonatal death.
World Prematurity Day 2021 highlights the specific challenges that babies born too soon and their families have been facing during the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For almost 2 years now, societies and health systems worldwide have been disrupted. Although the focus has rightly been on managing the COVID-19 crisis and its fallout, pandemic-related restrictions have also affected quality of care, including the application of an evidence-based infant and family-centred developmental care approach. Implemented restrictions have put additional pressure on the already vulnerable group of newborn babies and their families, with the full effect of the long-term consequences yet to be seen.