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Teas for teenies teams to mark World Prematurity Day

MEDIA RELEASE – For immediate release

8 November 2016

Teas for teenies teams to mark World Prematurity Day

Volunteers often provide morning teas and lunches for parents of premature babies in New Zealand – but the teas being held to mark World Prematurity Day on 17 November will be a little different.

Justine Brooker, Operations Executive of The Neonatal Trust, which is supporting World Prematurity Day in New Zealand, said: “On 17 November teams will be organising morning teas for the families and the fantastic and dedicated staff in every Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)”.

“Each year, over 5,000 kiwi babies and their families make the journey through neonatal intensive care in this country. World Prematurity Day is a chance to celebrate our premature babies and raise awareness of the challenges they and their families face.”

The Neonatal Trust provides support for families with babies in a NICU or SCBU giving help in any way they can, physically, emotionally or financially to make a difficult start to life a little bit easier.

The charity helps NICUs and SCBUs in practical ways, by purchasing or contributing to the cost of equipment. Examples of the support can be seen here.

The Neonatal Trust also provides support for parents of premature babies. Mrs Brooker said one of the most regular and popular support events is hosting lunches and morning teas for parents with babies currently in a neonatal unit.

“These are an opportunity to provide necessary information and support, as well as a way to create support networks amongst parents,” she said.

“Part of our celebration of World Prematurity Day is co-ordinating volunteers to organise morning tea for each Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU). This is both for the families of babies in the units and also the wonderful staff who look after the precious babies.”

Babies are classified as premature if they are born before 37 weeks gestation. A normal pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. At the extreme end, some are born very early, with several examples of babies born at 24 weeks gestation in neonatal units at the moment.

Premature babies aren’t just small; they often face on-going health challenges. The doctors and nurses in NICUs and SCBUs across New Zealand care for 10 per cent of babies born premature each year along with those full term babies with issues or complications that require specialist care. World Prematurity Day helps to thank and celebrate the work they do, caring for the world’s largest child patient groups.

This year marks the sixth year for worldwide prematurity day, and the third time New Zealand will be joining in the global celebrations. Much of the efforts, awareness activities and the inaugural ‘Woollen Wonders’ campaign have been developed in conjunction with, and are being supported by, The Neonatal Trust volunteers.

The Trust receives no government funding and so relies on the generosity of the New Zealand community to continue providing the support that they do. If you would like to donate or learn more about the support to neonatal families, please visit


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