- Premature birth and birth defects affect 23 million babies worldwide.
- More than 4 million die from preterm birth and birth defects.
- Working with local and global partners, we can make a difference.
Every year, 23 million babies worldwide are born prematurely or with a serious birth defect. More than 4.4 million of these die before their 5th birthday and, for those who survive, the majority will be disabled for life. While birth defects and preterm birth affect all countries, the highest numbers are in developing countries where more than 94% of affected births and 95% of the deaths of these children occur. Yet, until recently, premature birth and birth defects were not recognized as public health priorities by international health agencies, national governments or donor organizations. March of Dimes Global Programs is working hard to bring attention to this gap in policy and programs and, with it, our dream that one day all babies everywhere will be born healthy. For more information on the global toll of preterm birth and birth defects and on the steps that need to be taken to reduce this toll, see The March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects and The Global and Regional Toll of Preterm Birth.