Kangaroo care eyed to help cut child deaths

National

THE neonatal mortality rate in Papua New Guinea estimated to be 24 for every 1000 live births can be reduced by a technique known as the Kangaroo Care Method.
Nurse Ramonna Web, who is attached with Youth with A Mission, presented a research paper on the low-cost, low-tech but more effective method during the public health specialty meeting in Port Moresby recently.
Web said almost half of the neonatal mortality was due to babies being born prematurely or having low birth weights.
She said the method had decreased the neonatal mortality rates in other countries.
Web said it was a special way of caring for babies born with low birth weights such as in rural and remote areas where there were no proper equipment or incubators.
The method fosters a baby’s health and wellbeing by promoting effective thermal control, breastfeeding, infection prevention and bonding.
The baby is continuously kept in skin-to-skin (kangaroo position) contact by the mother and breastfed.
The method enables better temperature regulation, improved regulation of the baby’s behaviour such as longer alertness and lesser crying.
Higher rate and duration of breast-feeding helps the baby grow faster and healthier.
Web said the method would be good for Papua New Guinea, especially for babies born with low birth weights in rural centers.
She suggests that staff in rural health facilities be trained to guide parents on proper handling and feeding techniques.

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