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ACHIEVING OPTIMAL FEEDS FOR PRETERM BABIES, RECOMMENDATIONS: AND REALITIES IN PRACTICE: NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE

| Posted: May 17,2019

Preterm deaths are responsible for the highest number of neonatal mortality in Nigeria. Preterm nutrition contributes significantly to overall outcome particularly as it relates to neurodevelopment. Recently, new guidelines for enteral feedings in premature infants were issued by the American Academy of Paediatrics and European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition.

ABSTRACT

Preterm deaths are responsible for the highest number of neonatal mortality in Nigeria. Preterm nutrition contributes significantly to overall outcome particularly as it relates to neurodevelopment. Recently, new guidelines for enteral feedings in premature infants were issued by the American Academy of Paediatrics and European Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition. Nevertheless, in clinical practice it is often difficult to attain suggested intakes at all times. The situation is worse in Nigeria where there are no specific national guidelines and recommendations derived from local data targeting Preterms. There is a high possibility of significant potential cumulative nutritional deficits occurring in Nigerian preterms. The inevitable suboptimal intake contributes significantly to the incidence of neonatal diseases and outcome. This review describes practical ways of optimizing nutritional intake in these vulnerable neonates with reference to Nigerian situation. Understanding the preterm gut, initiation of parenteral nutrition, need for minimal enteral feeds, ensuring adequate macro and micronutrients intake and need for follow up are discussed. There are limitations to the practice of the recommended preterm nutrition in Nigerian settings, nevertheless the interventions like early commencement of minimal enteral feeds and preference for human breast milk should be practiced optimally. Hence, all health professionals should acknowledge that preterm nutrition may be an emergency and need to improve their knowledge on when and how to achieve optimal feeds in them. There is a dare need through both clinical practice as well as research, to reduce nutritional deficits in these vulnerable infants.


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