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Hundreds of guests attend the "Party for Premature Babies"

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Image: MedUni Vienna/Houdek

(Vienna, 18 November 2016) Hundreds of guests, including many premature babies, their parents and grandparents, attended the "Party for Premature Babies" held yesterday (Thursday) to mark World Prematurity Day at MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital. The high spot of the party, which included many exciting hands-on activity stations for kids as well as the presentation of the "Paul" premature baby simulator to the Department of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, was a colourful light show, during which a balloon was released into the night sky for each of the 200 babies born prematurely every year at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital.

Every year, MedUni Vienna and Vienna General Hospital care for around 200 children born before the 32nd week of gestation – 100 of these being born between weeks 23 and 27, that is to say as much as 17 weeks premature. Worldwide, one in every ten children is "prem". Current figures show: the survival rates for these very premature babies born on the Neonatology wards of MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital are the best in the world. At the Vienna hospital, 70% of premature babies born in the 23rd week of pregnancy – which is currently regarded as the limit for viability – survive, hence twice as many of these tiny babies as the global average. 

Image: MedUni Vienna/Houdek
Presentation of the "Paul" premature baby simulator to the Pediatric Department, from left: Rector Markus Müller, Gabriele Kornek, Angelika Berger, Johannes Aiginger, Michael Hoffmann

One of the high spots of the Action Day was the presentation of the "Paul" premature baby simulator to the Pediatric Department, made possible by the sponsor, Chiesi Pharmaceuticals GmbH. In collaboration with the MedUni's Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, the Viennese start-up, SIMCharacters, has developed the most realistic premature baby simulator to date. It will be used to train medical teams for critical situations in paediatric emergency medicine under highly realistic conditions. SIMCharacters was founded in 2012 by Jens-Christian Schwindt, who was formerly a paediatrician at MedUni Vienna/Vienna General Hospital.
The supporting programme for the "Party for Premature Babies" was produced in collaboration with Philips Austria.

World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day is celebrated every year on 17 November. Its official colours are white and purple and this year’s motto was: "Strong start for little heroes". The impressive light display bathed the entire Pediatric Department building in purple light.