Kangaroo mother care in resource-limited settings: implementation, health benefits, and cost-effectiveness
Samuel N Uwaezuoke
Department of Pediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku–Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria
Abstract: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) represents an intervention in low birth weight infants for resource-limited settings which aims to reduce mortality rates by thermoregulation, supporting breastfeeding, and promoting early hospital discharge. In terms of cost and impact on neonatal survival, it has comparative advantages over the conventional method of care (CMC). This paper aimed to review the evidence concerning the progress of KMC implementation, its health benefits, and its cost-effectiveness, especially in developing countries. From the synthesized evidence, KMC was shown to be a useful adjunct to CMC particularly with respect to improving neonatal survival, supporting breastfeeding, and promoting early discharge from the hospital. Substantial progress has been made in its implementation in many developing countries where facility-based KMC has been institutionalized. Despite the cost-effectiveness of KMC in neonatal care, its global implementation is bedeviled with country-specific, multifaceted challenges. In developed countries, there is an implementation gap due to easy accessibility to technology-based CMC. Nevertheless, many developing countries have initiated national policies to scale up KMC services in their domain. Given the major constraints to program implementation peculiar to these resource-limited countries, it has become imperative to boost caregiver confidence and experience using dedicated spaces in the hospital, as well as dedicated staff meant for adequate ambulatory follow-up and continuous health education. Capacity training for health professionals and provision of space infrastructure thus constitute the basic needs which could be funded by International Aid Agencies in order to scale up the program in these settings.
Keywords: neonatal care, low birth weight infants, thermoregulation, breastfeeding, neonatal survival, developing countries
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