As many as 332 newborns were registered with extremely low birth weight (500-1,000 grams) in Azerbaijan in 2017. The chief neonatologist of the country, chairman of the special commission for the improvement of neonatological services of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Health, Rustam Huseynov, told Trend.
The number of prematurely born children weighing less than 1,000 grams makes one percent of all newborns, according to Huseynov. He added that at the moment one of the main problems in the field of neonatology in the world is the birth of children with a small (1,000-1,500 grams) and extremely low weight. Huseynov noted that in recent times, 8-10 percent of babies are prematurely born in Azerbaijan annually. "In the world, the number of premature infants among newborns is about 5-14 percent, in some cases, 16 percent. This problem also exists in developed countries. Despite the development of obstetrics and gynecology in some countries, the cause of preterm delivery is pregnant women’s lifestyle, ecology and the impact of various diseases,” he said. Huseynov went on to say that only 30-35 percent of premature babies in Azerbaijan weighing less than 1,000 grams remain alive. "Over the past 10 years, we have achieved relatively high rates. We are confident that the number of surviving newborns with extremely low weight will increase,” he added. The neonatologist said that, in connection with the application of new birth rates, now, children weighing more than 500 grams and with a gestation period of more than 22 weeks are considered live-born. About 16 babies are born in Azerbaijan each hour. The number of newborns in January-March 2018 exceeded 23,000. Previously it was believed that children born before the 28th week of pregnancy and weighing less than a kilogram are considered stillborn. However, since January 2015, after the transition of Azerbaijan to the international standards of live birth, children born in the beginning of the 22nd week and weighing from 500 grams, are considered live-born. Modern medicine allows these children to go out to normal weight, returning them to their parents.
We have tried to find out experts’ views on the issue.
Gynecologist Rashad Sultan says there are several reasons for preterm birth of children with extremely low birth weight: "One of these causes is a premature birth and intrauterine growth retardation. There are two types of premature birth; A woman normally experiences a labor pain or we end pregnancy once life-threatening illness for a mother or the fetus is detected. A rise in the diagnosis of such cases may influence to the number of preterm births. However, preterm birth cases without any illness are more common in societies where social conditions are not good. Moreover, prematurely born children have the chance to remain alive. That is, the baby who was born after the 22nd week is considered to be born alive. Previously, this period was 28 weeks, but last year, according to the recommendation of the World Health Organization this peiod was droppped to 22 weeks in Azerbaijan. As we already have lots of cases of which children are born before the 28th week, and most of them have survived. We assess the children who born after the 22nd week as potential survivors, not as prematurely born. But the fact that children are not alive is a dreadful case for both doctors and parents. " told Rashad Sutan.
We asked the doctor what kind of problems prematurely born children and their parents face: "Certainly, we face some drawback in premature infants. These may be both mental and physical problems. These children have certain difficulties in hearing, vision. Problems emerge with brain function due to oxygen deficiency for a long time. Cerebral palsy and other nervous diseases, digestive and respiratory tract disorders are observed in those infants. All that I have mentioned are medical problems. Premature babies have to remain in the hospital's intensive care unit for some time. And this is a very serious process requiring more fund. One day of intensive care unit accounts for AZN 200 - 400. Moreover, the price of drugs is also considerably expensive. One of the major problems the premature children experience is respiratory failure, so that the child is given one or two doses of surfactant and its price varies between 300-500 manats. Therefore, in many private clinics, costs of the parents of these staying with children in intensive care are estimated to cost about 4-5,000 manats. And most clinics get a deposit beforehand so they do not have problems on the payment later." he added.
Pediatrician of the "Khatai" Clinic, Kenan Garayev notes that premature infants received the birth certificate from the maternity home who came to us are examined like other normal babies as follows: " All examinations and vaccinations are carried out. The sole problem is that premature children suffer from extremely low weight problem during the first year. Neurological problems are seldom met in these babies. The most important process usually is until leaving the maternity home . After leaving for home, we examine them as normal babies. Parents of premature infants should be more susceptible to the problem than others. Thus, they have to gsee a doctor regularly. One thing to note is that all premature children need to be examined for the "heel test”. As this test provides us to know about 35 diseases that will occur in the future. Sometimes this test is skipped in clinics. However we do this test in our clinics." told Garayev.