Psalm 139 declares that we are fearfully and wonderfully made – woven together by God our Father Himself in the womb of our mothers. We in Canada enjoy superb health care for our mothers and babies – even the tiniest and sickest of them. But this is not true in other parts of our world. Many newborn babies, and especially the premature, are at grave risk for death and disability. Jesus said, “As you do unto the least of these you do it to me”.
According to a 2019 WHO report, an
estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year. That is more than 1
in 10 babies. Approximately 1 million children die each year due to complications
of preterm birth. Survivors may face a lifetime of disability.
Cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems are
some of the sequelae. India, with 3.5 million premature born annually, is
the country with the largest number of such babies.
Inequalities in survival rates are stark. Half of the babies born at 24 weeks survive in high-income countries, but in low-income settings, half the babies born at 32 weeks continue to die due to a lack of feasible, cost-effective and basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.
For a number of years, on Dr. Abraham Ninan’s annual visits to India, he had been training EHA doctors and nurses in newborn care. This was sporadic. It was felt that a more formal training program was needed. Hence, EHA Canada, along with leaders in India, conceived and implemented the NeST programme. Over the past five years, doctors and nurses from Canada, the US and India were involved in the training. The programme continues with Indian leadership under Mr. Vinay John’s capable stewardship. NeST is exclusively funded by generous Canadian donors. Do consider giving to this effort that seeks to save the most vulnerable.