Newborn health is a strong focus of Save the Children’s Malawi Country Office. Part of which includes introducing the Kangaroo Mother Care method of caring for babies born prematurely. In the right hands and with proper support, this alternative approach to newborn care can be the difference between life and death.
One way Save the Children is helping support new mothers with premature babies is by introducing them to the practice of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). KMC helps meet a baby’s basic needs for warmth, nutrition, stimulation and protection from infection. An important part of the approach is to encourage parents of premature babies to use continuous skin-to-skin contact for at least 20 hours every day.
A mother holds her newborn baby at the neonatal ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Malawi
The World Health Organisation has identified KMC as a critical intervention in saving the lives of preterm babies. Globally, prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths. In Malawi, the prematurity rate is one of the highest in the world. With proper use of Kangaroo Mother Care, about 50% of these babies can be saved.
While Malawi faces many ch*allenges in making KMC more widely available and effective across the nation, Save the Children is actively working to meet these challenges head on. We provide national level technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and its partners and advocate for national level scale up of ‘high impact interventions’, such as KMC.