Kangaroo Mother Care Awareness Campaign

This article was originally published by Lenasia Rising Sun here.

Aiming to reduce the new-born mortality rate caused by winter conditions, the Johannesburg Health District will embark on a Kangaroo Mother Care Awareness Campaign to emphasise the benefits of keeping newborn babies warm. Kangaroo Mother Care, or, skin-to-skin care, is a simple, easy method of caring for newborn infants where the mother uses her own body temperature to keep her infant warm. KMC is particularly useful for nursing low birth weight infants.

The idea of carrying an infant against the mother’s bare breasts is not new and has probably been used for thousands of years. According to Dr. Ramatsimele Mphahlele, paediatrician in the District Clinical Specialist Team, the campaign will comprise two parts to ensure smooth running. “In part one, we will provide training to at least four hundred provincial and City of Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services personnel on the correct way to place babies in the ”kangaroo position” for the transfer between home and the clinic or hospital. In part 2, we will run a public information campaign using various electronic media platforms. We will also highlight health education for pregnant women at antenatal clinics in all government facilities by including a focus on skin-to-skin care.

“When women are pregnant, it is important to attend a clinic and to book as soon as the mother feels the baby kicking. The mother should then prepare a layette comprising warm caps, booties, nappies, bath towels, a warm fleece (soft) blanket that is long enough to tie the baby to the mother’s chest, and an extra blanket to cover both mother and baby. The mother should provide clothes for the baby to wear, as well as the mother’s own clothing.

“If a pregnant woman experiences any of the following: stomach pain, breaking of the water (amniotic sac), or a mucous-like discharge or bleeding, she should go to the clinic or hospital as soon as possible. If a baby is born at home, mothers should remember to do the following while waiting for the ambulance: wipe the baby clean and dry it, keep the baby warm by dressing it in a woollen cap and booties, keeping the baby secured to the mother’s chest while she is lying down, and cover mother and baby with a warm blanket.”

The District Clinical Specialist Team would like to request community groups to assist by knitting and/or donating any of the above-mentioned items for distribution to disadvantaged families. These items be left at the nearest fire or ambulance station. The items will be used by the emergency medical services that assist in transferring patients to and from clinics or hospitals.

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