Experts at a symposium on gynaecology and fetomaternal problems at the Ziauddin University said on Sunday that one million babies died each year in the world as a result of premature birth and a majority of them died in South Asia with Pakistan having a sizeable contribution.
They said preterm birth complications were the leading cause of death among children under five years of age and the country had to go long way to alleviate its condition.
The participants in the symposium were informed that Pakistan registered about 750,000 preterm births in 2010 and was ranked fourth in the global list in terms of the number of preterm births with India on the top followed by China and Nigeria as second and third, respectively.
Sherif Abdul Fattah, scientific editor of BJOG, an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said one million babies died each year as a result of premature birth.
“Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under five years of age,” he said.
A 2012 global action report on preterm birth was discussed in the symposium in which it was said that percentage wise ranking put Pakistan on the eighth position in the world with the annual average of 15.8 per cent preterm births. The world rate of preterm births was over 10 per cent.
The standard WHO definition for the preterm is up to 37 weeks of completed gestation.
Premature or preterm births is the leading cause of newborn deaths (babies in the first four weeks of life) and second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of five years.
Globally about 15 million babies are born too soon every year, while over one million children died each year due to preterm birth complications. Many survivors faced a lifetime of disability, including learning disabilities and visual and hearing problems.
Of the total preterm births across the globe, about 60 per cent occurs in South Asia and subSaharan Africa every year, according to the report.
With a rate of 15.8 preterm births per 100 live births in 2010, Pakistan remained eight in the world and first among Asian countries registering preterm births.
Prof Rubina Hussain, chairperson of the Pakistan Menopause Society, discussed cognitive problems with menopause. She said selfreported memory problems were common in premenopausal women. She added that regular exercise, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle would help maintain cognitive performance.
Dr Kashif Shazle spoke on the role of interventional radiology in the management of obstetrical and gynaecological disorders. He said interventional radiology (IR) had great impact on reproductive health, particularly complications related to pregnancy, childbirth and female fertility.
Prof Pirzada Qasim, vice chancellor of Ziauddin University, Dr Tariq Siddiqui, Dr Talha Abdul Halim and Shaikh Farhan Chawla also spoke.

News Reporter