Having trouble viewing our newsletter? Online Version

JULY edition | 2021


EFCNI Banner

Dear friends and supporters of EFCNI,

Time has flown by: While some are full of anticipation for their summer vacation, others are already back from their holidays. Whatever the status of your summer plans, we can provide some good reads for you. Among other activities, we are promoting the World Breastfeeding Week in the first week of August and also offer a three-part e-learning series on enteral preterm nutrition that is open for registration.

Further, we invite you to participate in the upcoming revision of 20 individual European Standards of Care for Newborn Health. Your feedback counts and helps us to ensure that the standards reflect the current state of the art.

As always, our sincere thanks for your interest and your continued support!

Please stay healthy and safe,

Silke Mader and the EFCNI team



Warm welcome to AstraZeneca as Platinum Partner of EFCNI

We are excited to announce that AstraZeneca has become a Platinum Partner of EFCNI. Infants born preterm, or with certain heart or lung problems, have a greater risk of getting more serious RSV infections, and we are looking forward to working with AstraZeneca to raise awareness of the effects of this common seasonal virus amongst families, caregivers and healthcare professionals.



Protect and promote breastfeeding in times of the pandemic

For seven years, EFCNI has been actively supporting and participating in World Breastfeeding Week with its own awareness initiatives. Preterm and hospitalised newborns benefit even more from breastfeeding than their term-born peers. Still, they are breastfed less. The reasons for this vary, but the pandemic has only widened this gap. There was too much uncertainty that COVID-19 infection could be transmitted to the child through breast milk. In addition, separation practices in many NICUs have also negatively affected breastfeeding rates. With our participation in World Breastfeeding Week we want to campaign for higher breastfeeding rates in the pandemic and invite you to join us!



EFCNI invited to review EU regulations on human milk

Donor human milk and human milk banking are currently unregulated at EU level. Legal uncertainty, however, leads to scant access, concerns about safety, questions regarding funding and reimbursement, an increased administrative burden, and underutilisation in many neonatal units. The Human Tissues and Cells Directive (2004/23/EC), which currently does not include donor human milk, is now being revised. Based on our expertise and previous work in the field of Human Milk Regulation, EFCNI was invited by the European Commission to participate in the consultation process and several workshops on the revision of this directive. During the last couple of months, we were able to share our expertise from a parent organisation’s perspective, providing input on ethical considerations, definitions, and the scope of the directive, which is very likely to also include donor human milk, as a substance of human origin, in the future. The revision of the Blood, Tissues and Cells Directive is planned to be adopted in the last quarter of 2021.



Promoting good practice in newborn temperature regulation: Dr. Alok Sharma’s story

Have you ever wondered what motivates healthcare professionals working in the field of neonatology to provide the best possible care to preterm and sick babies? Take Dr. Alok Sharma, founding member of the MProve Academy and consultant neonatologist at Southampton University Hospital. His commitment to improving health outcomes for sick and preterm babies stems, at least in part, from the example set by his own mother, herself an accomplished doctor. What is more, his multicultural background made him recognise the importance of infant- and family-centred care, particularly when it comes to monitoring a baby’s body temperature. Dr. Sharma implemented temperature monitoring in resuscitation practices at his hospital, thus actively improving health outcomes for preterm and sick babies. Find out more about his multicultural background and upbringing, the motivation behind his research, and how he improved care practices at Southampton University Hospital and beyond.



Business for preterm infants convinces jury

Our long-time network and Parent Advisory Board member Oleksandra Balyasna from Ukraine was awarded a price – however, this time not for her (award-worthy) charity work but for her company Раненько (Ranenko). Ranenko creates, elaborates and sells products meeting the needs of preterm babies. Since 2013, Ranenko has already supported more than 30,000 children and established cooperations with all perinatal centres of Ukraine, children's hospitals and further international partners. With this award, Oleksandra wants to place the topic of preterm birth even more prominently on the societal and economic agenda. The award was initiated by the business women committee of the French-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFU) and comes with a one-year business support by the CCIFU. We congratulate Oleksandra, who has more than once shown that she’s never afraid to dream and take a chance!



European Association of Perinatal Medicine honours Professor Giuseppe Buonocore

We congratulate Professor Giuseppe Buonocore on receiving the Maternity Prize, which is presented every two years at the European Congress of Perinatal Medicine to one neonatologist who has distinguished himself in his professional career and through his commitment to the field of perinatal medicine. He is professor of Paediatrics as well as Director and Chairman of Paediatrics and Neonatology at the University of Siena. As an active member of the EFCNI Scientific Advisory Board, he was also very much involved in the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project as an expert on Medical care & clinical practice. The Maternity Price is a wonderful recognition of his passionate work and dedication to newborns and their families. Congratulations on this special award, Professor Buonocore!



Study reveals association between mistreatment and maternal socio-demographic status

A cohort study in four public hospitals in Nepal observed mistreatment of newborns which differed depending on the women’s age, ethnicity, education, term or preterm infant status, and sex of the newborn. Mistreatment included unnecessary or unconsented medical interventions, disrespectful treatment and a severe lack of basic neonatal care, such as skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding immediately after birth, despite very clear recommendations by the WHO. Further interventions are needed to reduce inequity and mistreatment, linked to Nepal’s social hierarchy system of caste and ethnicity.



New thresholds for active treatment of extremely preterm infants (EPIs)

Through an online survey among UK neonatal staff, the thresholds and viability for active treatment of extremely preterm infants (EPIs) were evaluated: the result was a threshold shift for resuscitation and survival-focused care of infants with a lowest limit between 22 weeks and 22+6 weeks gestation. The vast majority of participants (91%) agreed that the gestation at which an infant is considered viable has changed in the last decade and attribute their changed views to improvements in neonatal intensive care.



RECAP summer school off to a great start

Are you a researcher in the field of neonatology, epidemiology, or psychology and looking to learn more about very preterm birth cohorts? Then the RECAP summer school may be a great opportunity for you! The summer school, which runs from the beginning of July to the end of September, provides an overview of very preterm birth cohorts and collaborative research principles and techniques. It links to the RECAP preterm Cohort Platform, a sustainable, geographically diverse and multidisciplinary database of national and European cohorts of babies born very preterm or with very low birth weight. The objective of the RECAP preterm project is to optimize the use of population data for research and innovation in healthcare, social and education policy. Register now (it’s free) and receive an exclusive link to 11 interesting modules.

European Standards of Care for Newborn Health


The revision process for 20 individual standards begins in August

Starting 1 August and ending 30 September, 20 individual standards from the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH) are under review to ensure that they still reflect the state of the art and current levels of knowledge. This process, organised by EFCNI, consists of an expert consultation phase as well as a public one which run in parallel. Everyone, whether a healthcare professional working in neonatal care or an affected parent, is invited to participate to make sure that all voices are heard. The consultation can be accessed via an online survey available on the ESCNH website.



The information brochure about the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health is now also available in Romanian

Our partner parent organisation “Unu si Unu” in Romania translated the official information brochure for the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH). The brochure explains how the project came about, what its objectives are, and how the standards were developed. Translating this brochure into Romanian will make communication easier and allow more people to join the important conversation about what high-quality neonatal care should look like. So, thank you – mulțumesc! – to “Unu si Unu” for taking on and completing this important task and raising awareness for the ESCNH.



Register now for our digital trilogy on “Enteral Preterm Nutrition”

Attend our CME accredited E-Learning Series on the importance of human milk nutrition for preterm infant health, and receive a comprehensive overview of national implementation strategies, the magic composition, and long-term impact of human milk in 3 modules. We cordially invite healthcare professionals, medical specialists and nursing staff working in the field of paediatrics, neonatology or infant nutrition to sign up. Registration is free.

GLANCE - Global Alliance for Newborn Care


Former preterm infants advocating for zero separation in NICUs

This month we have been in intensive exchange with former preterm infants about how they see the current segregation policy in NICUs around the world. In insightful interviews and statements, they share their experiences and learnings that have made them strong and empathetic personalities. One of them is Ingeborg Anna Martens. In an interview with GLANCE she recounts how she emerged stronger from the past as a preterm infant who was separated from her parents and looks into the future with courage and self-acceptance.