EuroNeoStat II – A neonatal European information system
Prematurity rates have, in general, increased across Europe in the last 10 years. Babies born before time are more likely to suffer from, such as chronic lung disease, and neurological developmental diseases, such as cerebral palsy, and may go on to have learning and cognitive problems.
With the general progress of medicine and research, most doctors thought that premature birth could be prevented. However, statistics show that 7% of allborn are now premature, i.e. before 37 weeks of gestation. Two per cent of these babies are born either before 32 weeks or with a weight below 1.5kg.
It is these 2% of infants that the EuroNeoStat II project is particularly concerned with. It aims to generate and create an information system across the EU of the best way to care for them so that these infants have the best possible chance of survival.
Thanks to the EuroNeoStat II project, funded by the EU Public Health Programme, doctors can now compare results on premature babies. By defining standard indicators, such as degree of prematurity or birth weight, and looking at other factors, such as whether the mother was given drugs to help support the baby’s lungs or whether the baby was born vaginally or by caesarean they can monitor and gather information on care all over Europe.
The EuroNeoStat II project also hopes to harmonise and standardise treatment and care of all premature babies. This way each will be able to receive optimal treatment.
The first EuroNeoStat project developed the European Information System for monitoring short and long-term morbidity in order to improve quality of care of premature babies of short gestation and very low weight.
EuroNeoStat II takes the platform one step further and offers quality improvement tools and quality assessment to European neonatologist, again to improve the care and reduce adverse outcomes of very low birth weight babies.
EuroNeoStat has grown slowly but steadily. The project started with 26 neonatal units and now includes over 200 neonatal units from 27 European countries. The project is now an up-to-date technological neonatal platform based on the internet, www.euroneonet.org.
With this system in place, citizens can be assured that care will improve and premature babies who survive will go on to have a better quality of life. Some early results have shown a trend towards a decrease in mortality among low birth weight babies in some EU countries.
Harmonising care across Europe means that all babies, wherever they are born, have the same chance of survival.