AS the sun set over Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday 17 November, Stadium Australia was dressed in a vibrant purple light, supporting World Prematurity Day.
The Light It Purple campaign is a global movement to raise awareness of the incidence of premature birth and its impact on newborns, families, and the broader community.
In Australia 1 in 10 babies are born premature, and 15% of all babies will require care in a Special Care Nursery or NICU. The provision of neuro-supportive care in the NICU helps to mitigate some of these risks yet the influence on long term development remains.
Stadium Australia are proud charity partners of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, having given over $455,000 in donations and in-kind support since the formation of the partnership in 2003. The hospital’s Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care are leaders in the provision and promotion of neuroprotective care to support neonatal neurodevelopmental outcomes of neonates in Australasia.
Each year, the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care cares for more than 600 critically ill babies and their families, many of whom are born premature.
Advances in technology, research and treatment has given these babies a much higher chance of survival but there is still increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders including learning, behavioural/social impairments and mental health issues.
“Raising awareness in the community of premature births and admissions to neonatal intensive care and special care units is exceptionally important,” Nadine Griffiths, Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Grace Centre for Newborn Intensive Care said.
“Everything that happens in the neonatal unit has an effect – positive, negative or cumulative. These effects can influence babies and families for the rest of their lives.
“World Prematurity Day and ‘Lighting It Purple’ reminds the community of our important role in caring for and supporting the future generations of Australia.”
Purple is the symbolic color of WPD representing sensitivity and individuality, two of the characteristics of the premature infant.