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World Preeclampsia Day May 22

Walk around the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada on May 22 evening and you may notice that some iconic buildings lit up in orange. We are very excited to announce that BC Place, Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver Convention Centre and Science World will be joining us on our commitment to women’s health and raising awareness for pre-eclampsia by lighting up orange on World Preeclampsia Day this year. Preeclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy with signs of damage to another organ system, most commonly the liver and kidneys. It affects 8-10% of pregnancies and is a leading cause of maternal and infant death with 76,000 maternal deaths and 500,000 infant deaths each year worldwide. To raise awareness of preeclampsia as a life-threatening complication of pregnancy, maternal health organizations around the world are joining forces to host the second annual World Preeclampsia Day on Tuesday, May 22. Partners in this global effort include the Preeclampsia Foundation, Ending Eclampsia/USAID, the International Society for the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy, PRECISE/PRE-EMPT. PRE-EMPT is a multi-national global health project coordinated out of UBC, affiliated with the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Centre for International Child Health (CICH).

Last year’s inaugural event brought people all over the world together with an online social outreach of over 570,000 people and with events from Dublin, Ireland to Sydney, Australia to Ghana and Uganda and more. This year on May 22, 2018, we hope to make it even bigger. We join together once again to bring light to the relatively high prevalence and devastating impact of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which are common complications of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a common factor in preterm delivery and accounts for approximately 20% of all neonatal intensive care admissions. For the mother, complications of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy cause illness for an extended period of time and are strongly associated with the future development of a range of debilitating non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and renal impairment. The World Health Organization has highlighted that the condition has a highly disproportionate impact on low-to-middle income countries, where over 99% of preeclampsia-related deaths occur. It is estimated that 16% of maternal deaths in low-to-middle income countries result from preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Americas, accounting for a quarter of all maternal deaths in Latin America, and a tenth of maternal deaths in Africa and Asia. This year’s event will highlight the incidence of postpartum preeclampsia and non-communicable diseases as risk factors and long-term complication.

During the week of World Preeclampsia Day, there will be a number of events to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia and related research. PRE-EMPT will be hosting an information booth with fact sheets, videos, games, small prizes and more at the Chieng Family Atrium in the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute between 10:00am-3:00pm on World Preeclampsia Day May 22. Additionally, Dr. Peter von Dadelszen, the PI of PRE-EMPT, will be giving two talks in Vancouver about community based interventions to reduce pre-eclampsia in low- and middle- income countries. The first talk is a Healthy Starts seminar on ‘The Community Level Interventions for Pre-eclampsia (CLIP) Trials’ on May 23 from 3:30-5:00pm followed by a reception. The second talk will be at the BC Women’s Hospital Interprofessional Grand Rounds on ‘PRE-EMPT’s Global Trials Results’ on May 24 from 8:00-9:00am. Both talks will be at the Chan Auditorium at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.