NCU Head nurse Angeline Namu (far left) and a few other INCU nurses.

The nurses in the Intensive Nursery Care Unit (INCU) at Vila Central Hospital (VCH) celebrated World Premature Day on November 17, 2021.

INCU Head Nurse, Angeline Namu, said it is a celebration to raise awareness about the dangers of premature births.

Head Nurse Namu explained that the day was initiated by the European Foundation Care for Newborn Infants (EFCNI) in 2008 along with other European parenting organizations.

This year’s theme is “Zero separation, act now and keep babies and parents together”.

Namu said in the past, babies were separated from their mothers when they were born prematurely and kept in the nursery glass.

However, she said this time things need to be done differently as specialists now believe that mothers need to give their premature born babies “kangaroo mother care”, meaning they need to hold their newborns like a kangaroo holds her joeys in her pouch close to her to keep them warm.

Namu said this way, the baby can feel his or her mother’s heartbeat which will strengthen the bond in which the infant can feel loved.

The premature babies will eventually be kept in the nursery; however, they will not be taken away straight after birth such as is commonly practiced in the past.

Namu explained that premature birth refers to babies born about 35 weeks before their due date with low weight below the minimum which is 2.5kg.

She says premature babies can die if not cared for properly between the ages of 0-5 years old.

The head nurse encourages all mothers to always eat healthy island food and to go for their check up early if they have given birth prematurely in the past.

She also urges them to listen carefully and accept advice given by doctors and nurses.

Namu acknowledges that many of rural clinics in Vanuatu may not have advanced equipment to cater for premature births, nevertheless she encourages all mothers who may go through this to always stay close to their newborns at all times.