EKO Cyprus supports premature babies’ fight for life and actively assists their families’ efforts, as well as those of the specialised medical staff who care for them throughout their treatment. Premature birth, before 37 completed weeks of gestation, is the leading global cause of death among children under 5 years of age and a significant cause of long-term health problems.
On the occasion of World Prematurity Day on 17th November, senior staff from EKO Cyprus, accompanied by representatives from the ‘Thermokitida Agapis’ Institute, visited the Makarios Hospital’s Neonatal and Premature Infant Intensive Care Unit and presented staff with 500 children’s books, as well as breast milk cooler bags, thus enhancing the developmental care of premature babies. When premature babies are breastfed, they have fewer feeding issues, present fewer infections and spend less time in hospital.
Ms Ellie Shacola, Secretary of the Board of Directors of ‘Thermokitida Agapis’, thanked EKO Cyprus for their active support for so many years and noted: “Every year, there are over 500,000 premature births in the European Union and most will have to be treated in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for weeks or even months, a fact which makes premature neonates the largest patient group in Europe.” According to Ms Shacola, the percentage of premature births in Europe range from 6.3% to 11.4% and, unfortunately, Cyprus is not an exception, despite the fact that it offers high-quality neonatal care. “The needs for the correct care of premature neonates remain high while there is a simultaneous lack of detailed information and training regarding the challenges and consequences of premature birth,” explained the Secretary of the Institute’s Board of Directors.
For yet another year, EKO Cyprus’s action contributed to raising public awareness on the challenges of premature birth, simultaneously assisting the work carried out by the Makarios Hospital’s Neonatal and Premature Infant Intensive Care Unit.