Kangaroo Mother Care – Saving Lives of Premature Newborns

A blog by USAID’s MaMoni Maternal and Newborn Care Strengthening Project (MaMoni MNCSP) in Bangladesh. 

“I was a little shocked and scared to see my baby so small and fragile. I did not think it would survive,” said Rina Khatun, mother of a newborn weighing only 1,400 grams at birth. The baby boy, Yacin, was born at a Union Health & Family Welfare Centre (UH&FWC), a designated primary health care center with delivery service in Bangladesh. Any baby born weighing less than 2,000 grams and stable is considered eligible for Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) according to the National Guideline for KMC in Bangladesh (2014) Therefore, Rina’s baby was referred to the KMC unit of the Upazila Health Complex (UHC) for consequent management.

During her antenatal care (ANC) checkups, Rina and her husband were counseled by service providers on KMC services necessary for the survival of a low-birthweight baby, which made the parents informed and comfortable enough to start the treatment immediately. Their newborn boy was given KMC services for a consecutive 29 days under intensive technical assistance from midwives and the Upazila Health & Family Planning Officer (UH&FPO). Along with the mother, both the grandmothers provided the newborn with continuous skin-to-skin contact every day for more than twenty hours a day and was exclusively breastfed.

After receiving KMC, baby Yacin slowly started gaining weight. Following a steady weight gain of 15-20 gms/kg/day for three consecutive days and the ability to maintain his temperature without assistance, he was discharged weighing 1,600 grams. As advised, the parents were confident enough to continue KMC at home and received four weekly KMC follow-up checkups. At his fourth checkup session, Yacin had a healthy weight of 2,225 grams.

Kangaroo Mother Care is a safe, effective, and low-cost intervention to reduce morbidity and mortality in premature and low-birthweight newborns. It continues to save babies from preventable deaths and gives hope to parents.

About the Author

Since 2018, USAID’s MaMoni Maternal and Newborn Care Strengthening Project (MaMoni MNCSP) supported the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW) to strengthen KMC service at public-sector health facilities in its project areas across the country.

As of November 30, 2021, the project supports 49 facilities to provide quality KMC services to premature and low-birthweight newborns. MaMoni MNCSP will continue to work with the government to leverage its lessons learned on quality utilization of KMC services and its follow up in the national health system.

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