September 20, 2021

The Editor Speaks: World Prematurity Day and World Orphans Day. Linked by children.

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Two stories celebrating special days may have escaped your notice or about too.

The first, World Prematurity Day, you can read today as the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority are celebrating it. See today’s story “Cayman Islands Health Services Authority celebrates World Prematurity Day”. The day earmarked for this is November 17th.

The World Health Organisation states that, “Premature birth is a very serious health problem. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm and more than a million die as a result. Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities.”

On the website “march of dimes” it says:

“Premature birth is the leading cause of death in children under the age of five worldwide. Babies born too early may have more health issues than babies born on time, and may face long-term health problems that affect the brain, the lungs, hearing or vision. World Prematurity Day on November 17 raises awareness of this serious health crisis. Throughout the month we draw attention to the lifesaving research, treatments and community support made possible when we work together to give every baby a fighting chance.

“On November 17 we ask you to take action to support the global movement. Many organizations in the U.S. and worldwide conduct advocacy, education and awareness events in their communities on World Prematurity Day. Social media is another way to get involved. You can change your profile pictures to a World Prematurity Day one on Facebook and Twitter to help raise awareness, and sign up to automatically post a message of support and awareness to your social media community on November 17. Be sure to post photos to social media with #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday. For more actions, visit our Give them tomorrow page. You can also find events in your community on our Facebook page. And you can easily get involved by going purple — that includes wearing purple to represent the March of Dimes and prematurity awareness, lighting your home or office purple and getting creative to inspire others to raise awareness by going purple.

“This is a critical moment in our fight. In 2016, the nation’s preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years. Check out the latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card to see how the United States has taken a step backward. The current U.S. preterm birth rate is 9.6 percent — that’s a “C” grade amidst widening differences in prematurity rates across races and ethnicities. These Report Card grades give us a snapshot of the work we have yet to do. Please join us and our World Prematurity Network*, a global coalition of consumer and parent groups, to fight for the health of all babies on World Prematurity Day, all month and throughout the year. Join this global movement to save the smallest among us.”

In the HSA story it lists where free screenings on Monday 20 November are taking place for all pre-term babies born before 34 weeks, and who are not yet 18 months old and not actively receiving therapy on a regular basis.

The second special day and not widely known is World Orphans Day that was yesterday November 13. See our story WORLD ORPHANS DAY was observed Monday, November 13 at:

“Over 60,000,000 children in the world go to bed hungry at night, and most of those are orphans,” stated Gary Van Dyke, CEO of Food for Orphans.

Cheryl Robeson Piggott, Chairman and President of The Stars Foundation, that promotes World Orphans Day said, “Ninety nine percent of the orphaned children are never adopted. Orphanages in third world countries are educating, feeding and supporting to the best of their abilities, but more effort needs to be exerted by the global community. Literally, according to one organization, it would take 80,000 orphanages that hold 500 each just to house the children orphaned by AIDS in Sub Saharan Africa alone. I can’t fathom that, but it is heartbreaking and it’s what drives us to do our little part of the solution for orphans.”

The History of World Orphans Day
The first people to officially care for orphaned children were the Romans, who opened the first orphanage in history in around 400 AD. Long before them, however, both Jewish and Athenian law required that orphans be supported until age 18. The great philosopher Plato once said, “Orphans should be placed under the care of public guardians. Men should have a fear of the loneliness of orphans and of the souls of their departed parents. A man should love the unfortunate orphan of whom he is a guardian as if he were his own child. He should be as careful and as diligent in the management of the orphan’s property as of his own or even more careful still.”

Later, in Medieval Europe, orphans were cared for by churches. By the early 1900s, a number of orphans in England had reached truly alarming proportions, not to mention the conditions in which the orphaned children lived, which were often appalling and abusive. Charles Dickens’ most famous novel, “Oliver Twist”, depicts perfectly the hardships orphaned children had to endure in orphanages. In modern times, researchers are almost unanimous in their claim that orphanages are the worst possible care option for children, as they do not receive the right amount of attention or physical contact to develop properly.

This has caused many people, usually, Westerners, to decide to adopt children from impoverished countries to give them a chance at a better life. Sadly, this trend has also lead to a large number of scams being perpetrated on unsuspecting parents-to-be, many of whom have paid enormous amounts of money to adopt children who had been bought from their parents for very little. World Orphans Day was created by The Stars Foundation to raise awareness about the number of children in this world who lack something most of us take for granted: parents. The Stars Foundation’s wish was for this day to motivate people to do anything they can to help.


Although both are separate days, making us aware of different topics, they are linked. Children. How many premature babies end up as orphans?

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