HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Prematurity is the number one cause of death of newborns worldwide.
Preterm birth is also the second leading cause of death, after pneumonia, in children under the age of 5.
According to the leaders of World Prematurity Day, more newborns died from premature birth than any other cause, yet 75 percent of those deaths are preventable.
Dozens of organizations worldwide joined forces Monday to spread awareness about the critical problem of premature birth and improving the health of babies in their own countries.
"Funding is needed to improve care in countries around the world," according to the World Prematurity Day Facebook page, "from low-cost steroid shots to promote lung development, to wider adoption of the profoundly beneficial practice of skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her newborn child."
Leaders said research is needed to identify the causes of premature birth and develop treatments and preventative methods.
For ways you can help in the fight against premature birth, visit the March of Dimes website.