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One in ten births premature

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Cyprus ranks high in terms of prematurity, as more than one in ten births are premature, according to a workshop held in Nicosia.

At the two-day workshop, with the participation of 40 organisations, the support of the World Health Organization-European Region and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), deliberations concentrated on developing a strategy for promoting natural childbirth and preventing prematurity.

Health Minister Dr Popi Kanari said promoting natural childbirth, preventing premature labour, and reducing prematurity are important priorities for public health that require a multifaceted approach.

She also said her ministry would provide all possible support for implementing the strategy to promote normal childbirth and prevent prematurity.

Based on data from the Health Monitoring Unit, the rate of Caesarean sections in Cyprus reached 58.9% of all births in 2021, while the EU average does not exceed 30%.

The same data noted that Cyprus is also among the top countries in Europe for prematurity and multiple pregnancies. Approximately 11.3% of births in Cyprus are premature.

The strategy to promote natural childbirth and prevent prematurity aims to promote and protect the health of mothers and children by adopting evidence-based practices based on guidelines and clinical protocols, to reduce Caesarean sections and their complications.

It can be implemented through interventions within the Health System and existing legislation, with targeted education and ongoing professional development of healthcare professionals, and through public awareness, said experts.