Kangaroo mother care

The objectives of this paper are to: (1) use a 12-country analysis to explore health system bottlenecks affecting the scale-up of kangaroo mother care (KMC); (2) propose solutions to the most significant bottlenecks; and (3) outline priority actions for scale-up.

Bahomwana care group meets in Gasambu village, Rwanda. They exchange ideas and challenges to accomplish and improve their work as a Community Health Workers. Photo: Esther Havens.
Bahomwana care group meets in Gasambu village, Rwanda. They exchange ideas and challenges to accomplish and improve their work as a Community Health Workers. Photo: Esther Havens.

Preterm birth is now the leading cause of under-five child deaths worldwide with one million direct deaths plus approximately another million where preterm is a risk factor for neonatal deaths due to other causes. There is strong evidence that kangaroo mother care (KMC) reduces mortality among babies with birth weight
<2000 g (mostly preterm).

KMC involves continuous skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding support, and promotion of early hospital discharge with follow-up. The World Health Organization has endorsed KMC for stabilised newborns in health facilities in both high-income and low-resource settings.

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