Every Week Counts – National Preterm Birth Prevention Collaborative
Each year in Australia, one in 12 pregnancies end early and more than 26,000 babies born before term. Many preterm children will go on to lead normal productive lives but many others may not be so fortunate. Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in young children and one of the major causes of lifelong disability.
The National Collaborative aims to safely reduce preterm and early term birth across Australia by 20% through supporting hospitals in the adoption of evidence-based changes in clinical care. The evidence based changes were first developed in 2014 by the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance, and have since been successful in reducing rates of preterm birth in Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory.
In 2021, the federal Government announced funding for the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance to support spread of their recommended approach across Australia. The Alliance has invited Women’s Healthcare Australasia (WHA) and the globally renowned Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to become partners in this effort. Safer Care Victoria and other state quality improvement agencies are supporting this work also. The Women’s & Infants Research Foundation is administering this funding on behalf of the Alliance.
The National Collaborative will use IHI’s Breakthrough Series methods that have been successfully employed by hospitals around the globe for over 25 years to close the gap between research and practice through the application of improvement science. Teams from participating hospitals will be supported to use proven improvement tools to help them reliably implement the required approaches to reducing rates of preterm birth. Teams will also be able to share their learnings with each other across Australia.