Now the leading cause of death of children under 5, prematurity is an urgent public health issue. Every year, an estimated 15 million babies are born preterm, amounting to more than 1 in 10 of all births globally. An even higher number – over 20 million babies – have a low birthweight. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is a proven, effective technique for saving the lives of these babies and improving their development and well-being.
On 16th May, 2023, WHO will publish two important new policy and programmatic resources on KMC – a global position paper and implementation strategy for health policy makers and programme managers – following the release of landmark new guidelines for the care of preterm or low birthweight infants in 2022. These guidelines recommended KMC as the essential standard of care – starting immediately after birth – for all babies born early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or small (under 2.5 kg at birth).
Developed in collaboration with a multi-country, multi-stakeholder working group comprising country programme managers, bilateral agencies, donor organizations, professional associations and non-governmental organizations, parents’ groups, specialized partnerships like PMNCH, and international experts and scientists, these resources are directed to programme partners, policy makers and the broader public health community.