The results of the first country-by-country study on premature births revealed some startling findings. More than 15 million of the world's babies are born prematurely, and around 1.1 million die, CBS News reports.
Though most of the premature births occur in the developing world, with countries in Asia and Africa having the highest rates, the United States did not fare too well either. Around 500,000 - or one in every eight - births in the U.S. are premature. That is a higher rate than similar countries like Canada, Australia and Japan and puts the U.S. at 134 out of 184.
The study was conducted by a number of charities including March of Dimes, Save the Children and the World Health Organization, and experts say the findings should be a call to action.
"Being born too soon is an unrecognized killer," Save the Children's Dr. Joy Lawn told the news source. "And it's unrecognized in the countries where you could have a massive effect in reducing these deaths."
There are some solutions to help curtail the seemingly high numbers, and according to Reuters preterm deaths could be reduced by as much as 75 percent thanks to some inexpensive fixes. In particular, injections of corticosteroids for women in labor - which cost $1 each - help fetal lungs develop and could save as many as 370,000 infants each year.
There is a considerable amount of work being done stateside to help lower the rate of premature births. Specifically, March of Dimes has been hosting numerous March of Babies events across the country. In Worcester, Massachusetts, more than 1,200 participants turned out in late April to raise around $264,000, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports.
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