March of Dimes
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, infant mortality, and premature birth.
The global toll of preterm birth is harsh. The 2009 March of Dimes White Paper on Preterm Birth estimated that worldwide, 13 million babies are born too soon each year. More than 1 million of these premature babies die before their first birthday.
This problem is truly global, affecting families everywhere. Although the vast majority of preterm births and related deaths occur in poor countries, families in wealthier nations are also at risk of having a baby born preterm. In fact, the number of premature babies born in the United States has increased 36 percent over the last quarter of a century.
While 13 million is a huge number, it is an estimate at best, because many countries do not have the capacity to collect adequate data on preterm births.
The March of Dimes partners with organizations around the world to raise awareness of the problem of premature birth. On November 17, 2011 — World Prematurity Day — we are making a global effort to draw attention to the global crisis. Our global alliance partners include the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), Little Big Souls International Foundation in Africa and the National Premmie Foundation in Australia. We welcome inquiries from organizations who are interested in supporting these efforts.