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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Report Finds 13 Million Babies are Born Prematurely Worldwide; 1 Million Die
09 Oct 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Report Finds 13 Million Babies are Born Prematurely Worldwide; 1 Million Die

Interview with Chris Howson, vice president for global programs at the March of Dimes Foundation, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

The first global study of pre-term births has just been completed. A collaboration between the March of Dimes Foundation and the United Nations World Health Organization found that 13 million babies are born prematurely every year, and one million of them die. Those who survive often face a lifetime of disabilities, including hearing loss, blindness, cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Surprisingly, the rate -- though not the total numbers -- of pre-term births by continent is almost as high in North America, including Canada and the U.S., as it is in Africa. The UN plans to follow up this report with more detailed, country-by-country research.

According to the March of Dimes the rate of premature births in the United States has increased 36 percent in the past 25 years. The increase in the rate of late preterm births (between 34 and 36 weeks gestation) accounts for most of the increase. The group points out that the emotional costs for families can be devastating and life-changing and the financial costs affect society as a whole. Prematurity accounts for almost half of hospital charges for infants.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Chris Howson, vice president for global programs at the March of Dimes Foundation, just before he delivered a report on the study at an international conference on the prevention of birth defects and disabilities in Delhi, India. He discusses what the report revealed, what's still not understood about the problem, and possible remedies.

Contact the March of Dimes Foundation by calling (914) 997-4488. Read the pre-term birth report online at

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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
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©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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