Depending on the gestational age, there are three categories of preterm babies: extremely preterm (less than 28 weeks); very preterm (28 to 32 weeks); moderate to late preterm (32 to 37 weeks).
Statistics from WHO also indicates that across the world, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm and the number is on the rise. Prematurity is the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 years but it can be prevented with interventions such as feasible, cost-effective care.
As the world observes Prematurity Day, here are 3 of the famous black people who were born prematurely.
This musical powerhouse was born at 34 weeks gestation in 1950. The preterm birth contributed to the loss of his eyesight as stunted growth of blood vessels in the back of his eyes caused his retinas to detach. The situation was made worse by the oxygen pumped into his incubator.
Wayde van Niekerk
South Africa’s running sensation was born 29 weeks preterm and weighed a little over 1kg. Many did not think he would survive but he did and in 2012 during the Rio Olympics, he won South Africa’s first gold medal.
Sir Sidney Poitier
The first Bahamian and first black actor to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor was born two months early in Miami and was not expected to survive. Fortunately, his parents stayed in Miami and nursed him back to health.