Health Desk – 27 May, 2021: The results of a new clinical trial published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, show that immediate kangaroo mother care, which involves skin-to-skin contact with the mother and exclusive breastfeeding, started as soon as a preterm or low birthweight baby is born, dramaticallyimproves survival.
Current World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations indicate starting kangaroo mother care only after the baby is stabilized in an incubator or warmer, which can take on average 3-7 days. This new study suggests that, when compared with the existing practice, starting kangaroo mother care immediately after birth can save up to 150,000 more lives each year.
Keeping the mother and baby together right from birth with zero separation will revolutionize the way neonatal intensive care is practiced for babies born early or small, said Dr Rajiv Bahl, Head of the Newborn Unit at WHO, and the coordinator of the study. When started at the soonest possible time, kangaroo mother care can save more lives, improve health outcomes for babies and ensures the constant presence of the mother with her sick baby.