Expectant mothers have been partly blamed for the increased premature births.
According to the Ministry of health over 54 per cent of expectant mothers expose their unborn children to conditions that might lead to premature births.
The health ministry officials say that the most common causes of premature births include pre-eclampsia, heart or kidney failure, urinary tract infections and drug use.
The Ministry of health says by not attending a minimum of four antenatal visits, diseases such as pre-eclampsia that are one of the leading conditions of premature births cannot be detected early and controlled, leaving the health of the mother and the child at risk.
Figures from the health ministry show that 226,000 babies are born before the 47 weeks of gestation and 12 out of every 1,000 pre-term babies die within the first 28 days after birth.
Dr Richard Mugahi, the assistant commissioner in charge of reproductive child health services at the ministry of health says the laxity with which expectant mothers view antenatal services is leading to many avoidable premature births in the country.
Dr Mugahi says they estimate that over 50 per cent of the reported premature births are caused by the mother’s not attending all four antenatal visits.