Premature babies in the shadow of the corona - how will we protect our premature babies in the days of the epidemic?
On the occasion of International Prematurity Awareness Month, the "Forum for Prematurity" publishes the Prematurity Situation Report, which this year focuses on the consequences of the Corona crisis on the quality of care for premature infants in Israel and the challenges it poses to preemies in hospitals and to the parents of premature infants.
Knesset member Michal Shir, Likud
"In this challenging year, I am happy to lead Prematurity Day in the Knesset and to encourage them to promote the issue of premature births and improve the health and quality of life of premature babies and their families. There is no doubt that the corona virus also has consequences for the care of premature babies, so I will work to provide a proper and optimal response to the special needs of premature babies in Israel, and especially at this time.'
Dr. Shmuel Tsangan, chairman of the Israeli Neonatology Association and member of the forum's management
"Since the appearance of the corona virus in Israel, over 700 newborns have been born to mothers who were infected with the corona virus. Fortunately, all the newborns were without symptoms of the corona disease. This is because it was found that the virus does not pass from the mother to the fetus through the placenta. On the other hand, there were many cases where the babies were separated from their mothers immediately after birth for an extended period of time. Also, a large part of these newborns did not receive breast milk, even though the corona virus is not found in the breast milk of mothers confirmed for corona. Following the corona, restrictions were also imposed on the presence of parents in premature babies with their babies, a phenomenon that caused a reduction in the duration of skin-to-skin contact For the skin with premature babies, which is essential for their proper development."
He further adds: "We call on the Ministry of Health to invest in the establishment of preemies with separate rooms for prematures, as recommended in the Western world, and in the establishment of wards that allow the mother and newborn to stay together (housing wards) in order to reduce the damage caused by the separation of parents from their babies. On this occasion, we welcome the establishment The first breast milk bank in Israel and call on the Ministry of Health to complete the procedure for allocating the budget required to purchase breast milk from the bank and thereby prevent its closure."
Rumi Schhouri, CEO of the Lehab Association (for premature babies in Israel)
"The corona crisis has greatly intensified the mental distress and anxiety of the parents of premature babies. In recent times, the association has witnessed an increase in 50% and more requests for help and mental support in regards to the effects of the corona crisis on the presence of parents in premature babies, separation between the mothers and premature babies for a prolonged period, and an inadequate response to the mothers' needs and premature infants during this period, both on the issue of breast milk and on the issue of skin-to-skin contact, which are critical to the survival of premature infants. The association adapts the answer according to the request, with the support of the association's volunteers, mothers of premature infants themselves or mothers of premature infants from the health professions, works to make emotional support and treatments accessible, through a degree intern project Second in social work, subsidizing support groups through Zoom, finding discounted therapists for applicants and connecting to treatments in the community."
Rumi adds: "The association appeals to the Ministry of Health with the demand to invest in infrastructure that will enable a significant reduction in the consequences of the Corona virus on the mental and emotional state of the parents and premature infants, and to the health insurance funds to allow the continuation of accompaniment by social workers and psychologists for premature infants, in order to produce a therapeutic sequence until there is a significant benefit in the state of motherhood or until beyond treatment In addition, the decrease in the rates of newborns fed with breast milk during the Corona period, together with the lack of continuous regulation of the operation of the breast milk bank, leads to a real risk to the lives of premature babies who need breast milk to survive, and severe distress among mothers of premature babies whose medical condition requires continued feeding with breast milk at home as well and find themselves in existential anxiety in the face of the threats to the continuous operation of the milk bank"