As the world marks World Premature Day, South Africa has seen an increase in the number of premature babies living longer now compared to a decade ago.

That’s according to Doctor Natasha Rhoda, who is a Neonatologist at Groote Schuur Hospital and the University of Cape Town.

She’s cited the good quality of antenatal care for pregnant women as one of the many contributing factors.

She says they are trying to ensure that there are  services available so that mothers can have their antenatal visits.

She says, “In this way, I think we actually see a better quality of babies that’s being born. So, even those babies that are born early actually survive. You often hear about all the miracle babies, the 600/700 grams that survive, but if we think in SA, we have just over a million births and about 1 in 7 or 1 in 8 of those are premature. That puts the figure at about 70 000 – 80 000 preterm babies per year,” adds Rhoda.