Premature Children in Qatar and the UK: Disability, Cognitive, Eating and Behavior Development

Principle Investigators:
Professor Muthanna Samara
Dr. Ghassan Abdoh
Professor Neil Marlow
Dr. Hilal Al Rifai

Postdoctoral Research Fellows:
Dr. Nura Alkathiri
Dr. Rima El Kishawi

Research Coordinator
Silvia Fisas

Funding Organisation:
Qatar National Research Fund

Start-Finish date:
September 2016 - September 2019

What is Premature Birth?

Preterm birth refers to birth that takes place before 37 completed weeks of gestation (WHO, 2012). Premature birth is responsible for 25-50% of the global estimate of 4 million annual neonatal deaths. Worldwide, the preterm birth rate is estimated to be around 11% (ranging from 5% in parts of Europe to 18% in Africa), and about 15 million children are born preterm each year (range 12 to 18 million) (Blencowe et al., 2012).

Despite advancing knowledge of risk factors and mechanisms, and the introduction of interventions to reduce preterm birth, the preterm birth rate has risen in most industrialized countries (Costeloe et al., 2000; Saigal et al., 2008). Approximately 60-70 percent of preterm births occur between 34 and 36 weeks of gestation (late preterm birth), 20% occur at moderate (32-33 weeks), 15% at very preterm (28-31 weeks) and about 5% at extremely preterm gestation (less than 28 weeks) (WHO, 2012).