Health Desk – 17 Mar, 2021: New research from WHO and partners shows that the COVID-19 pandemic is severely affecting the quality of care given to small and sick newborns, resulting in unnecessary suffering and deaths.
A study published in the Lancet Eclincal Medicine highlights the critical importance of ensuring newborn babies have close contact with parents after birth, especially for those born too small (at low birthweight) or too soon (preterm). However, in many countries, if COVID-19 infections are confirmed or suspected, newborn babies are being routinely separated from their mothers, putting them at higher risk of death and lifelong health complications.
This is especially the case in the poorest countries where the greatest number of preterm births and infant deaths occur. According to the report, disruptions to kangaroo mother care – which involves close contact between a parent, usually a mother, and a newborn baby – will worsen these risks.