BALMAISHA Foundation aimed at supporting preterm babies and their mothers has been launched in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital.
Preterm baby refers to a birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy.
It will provide material, financial and medical care support for preterm mothers and their babies on admission or at home.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and founder of the BALMAISHA, Ms Fayudatu Yakubu, speaking at the launch at the Tamale Teaching Hospital over the weekend said the foundation was named after her daughter Balma Aisha who was born a preterm baby in April 2021.
“Mothers of preterm babies go through a lot. I can remember when I was here myself the stress and psychological trauma you go through as a mother of a preterm baby. BALMAISHA Foundation, therefore, seeks to support these mothers,” she said.
She urged parents who give birth to preterm babies not to see it as punishment, but rather to comply with the directives of nurses and doctors so that their babies would survive.
The Head of the Paediatric and Child Health Unit at the University for Development Studies (UDS) and chair of the launch, Professor Alhassan Abdul-Mumuni, said an estimated 15 million babies were born too early every year. That is more than one in 10 babies.
Professor Alhassan, who is also the Head of Child and Maternal Health at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) added that in Ghana, about 128,000 babies were born preterm annually and 8,400 of them die before age five, due to direct complications of prematurity.
“Approximately one million children die each year due to complications of preterm birth,” he said.
Professor Alhassan lamented that the hospital was under pressure due to the increasing rate of preterm births it recorded daily, and appealed to other organisations that could be of support, to come to their aide.
The programme analyst at The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Mr Jude Domesie, pledged the support of the UN population agency to the foundation, but urged them to allow honesty and transparency to be their guiding principles.
The Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery at the TTH, Mr Musah Salifu, on behalf of the hospital, expressed gratitude to the foundation for its support of the Paediatric and Child Health Unit over years.
He also pledged the support of the hospital to the activities of the foundation and many others who would use their facilities to reach out to many mothers and their babies.
FROM TIMES REPORTER, TAMALE