World Prematurity Day 2020

Improving preterm babies’ health and survival through Medela’s NICU QI initiative

17 November is World Prematurity Day, this year themed Together for babies born too soon – Caring for the future. Medela observes this day - and every other day on the calendar when it comes to premature babies - through its ongoing active support of the United Nations’ Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC) Initiative, which tackles the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents around the world.


Medela supports EWEC through its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Quality Improvement (NICU QI) Initiative. This aligns with the company’s corporate social responsibility programme, Medela Cares, to improve the health and survival of infants by working with hospitals and like-minded organisations to make own mother’s milk an integral part of preterm babies’ diet.


Research shows that the health benefits of human milk for babies are significant. For vulnerable preterm babies in NICUs, the feeding of own mother’s milk is even more critical for growth and overall health, being a highly effective medical intervention in the NICU to prevent infant death.


Medela has thus created NICU-specific training material on the value of human milk for these most vulnerable infants and on the clinical interventions necessary to ensure an appropriate milk supply. Already, the initiative has enabled healthcare providers to implement new standards of lactation care in the NICU.


Advancing the NICU QI Initiative, Medela is partnering with The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) in Nigeria to provide dedicated support to new mothers by delivering education in collaboration with local healthcare professionals, NPOs and government agencies.


What has been achieved?

Since 2014, Medela has advanced the EWEC agenda through successful initiatives, including reducing hospital formula use by 43% in a Russian state hospital, providing lactation and human milk training to NICU staff at state hospitals in India, supporting a 3-fold increase of NICU infants’ breastfeeding rates in a Japan hospital, and helped collect key data for policymakers.


What is World Prematurity Day?

World Prematurity Day is a global campaign to raise awareness on premature birth. Worldwide, WHO data show, 1 in 10 babies are born more than 3 weeks early. They face complications, lower chances of survival, lifelong health issues, and need medical care in the NICU.


Medela is committed to supporting healthcare professionals and families with needed resources and to partnering with like-minded organisations globally to fight infant mortality and malnutrition.