by Phyllis Williams-Thompson, MS, CIMAssociate Director, Prematurity Campaign Domestic & Global Partnerships NPIHC Steering Committee Member
This November marks the 11th annual Prematurity Awareness Month.
The event has evolved and grown from a single day to remember and honor babies born too soon, to a month-long, international awareness campaign, which grew out of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign launched in 2003. The campaign’s goal: Lowering the U.S. preterm birth rate to 9.6 percent of live births by 2020 by applying known preterm birth evidence-based interventions and funding research to find new ways to prevent premature birth.
In 2012 the U.S. preterm birth rate dropped for the sixth consecutive year to 11.5 percent. This represents a 15-year low. And six states – Alaska, California, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Vermont – earned an “A” on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, as their preterm birth rates met the 9.6 percent goal. However, the nation as a whole again earned a “C.” Our work continues.
The March of Dimes thanks each and every one of you – Prematurity Campaign Alliances, World Prematurity Network, and other friends of the campaign - for your wonderful collaboration and for raising awareness for premature birth on behalf of babies and families all around the world.
Learn more about our findings on the state of preterm birth in the U.S. in our newly-released Premature Birth Report Card, and review your state’s progress at the State Report Card Map. We hope you will get involved with the third annual World Prematurity Day on November 17 through social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. Find out more and share your story on the World Prematurity Day Facebook page, and on Twitter by using #WorldPrematurityDay and following @MarchofDimes.