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A program that's reduced the number of babies being born early in WA will go national

Photo: Pre-term birth program to go national
A program that has successfully reduced the number of pre-term births in Western Australia will be introduced nationally and could be also adopted in New Zealand and Canada.

The program, which includes new clinical guidelines for health professionals, a public education campaign and a dedicated clinic for high-risk cases, has delivered an eight per cent fall in pre-term births in WA.

The program was recently expanded to NSW and Victoria and will now go national, WA health Minister Roger Cook says.

An alliance of state and territory health departments has been launched to lower the nation's pre-term birth rate and will use the WA program as a template.

"This program is an example of the innovative research underway in this state that has the potential to improve lives, both here in Western Australia and around the world," Mr Cook said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Delaying the birth of a newborn baby by approximately seven weeks, from 24 weeks to 31 weeks' gestation, saves the health system over $150,000.

"But the human cost is even greater with complications from pre-term birth often resulting in lifelong health problems."

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