World Prematurity Day Date in the current year: November 17, 2016

World Prematurity Day World Prematurity Day (WPD) is an annual observance held on September 17 to raise awareness of the global problem of preterm birth. The first international awareness day for preterm birth was observed in 2009, it has been celebrated as WPD since 2011.

Preterm birth, also known a premature birth, is the birth of a baby at less that 37 weeks gestational age. It is the most common cause of infant mortality (death of children less than one year of age). According to statistics, 15 million babies are born preterm each year, and about one million of them die. Preterm infants are at risk for numerous complications and need special care.

The idea of an awareness day for prematurity was born at the first meeting of the European Parents' Organization in 2008. It was established to raise awareness of preterm birth and educate general public about the problems and risk preterm infants face as well as about the prevention of preterm birth. On the occasion of WPD, numerous international, national and local public health organizations carry out various events and activities that aim to spread the word about the campaign and get people involved.

Although WPD is not one of the official United Nations observances, it is actively supported by the World Health Organization.

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