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New Research Shows 'Kangaroo Mother Care' Reduces Newborn Deaths More than 50 Percent
Date:3/29/2010

ncreasingly accepted in both high- and low-income countries, a previous meta-analysis of studies did not show Kangaroo Mother Care to have a significant impact on newborn mortality because the benefits of the intervention were examined after one week of age. However, Kangaroo Mother Care has the greatest impact during the first week of a preterm baby's life, when deaths are most likely to occur. Each year at least 1 million of the world's nearly 4 million newborn deaths (deaths in the first month of life) are due to preterm birth complications.

Some of the poorest countries in the world are discovering that Kangaroo Mother Care can dramatically reduce newborn deaths. The method was first developed in Colombia and is now practiced in many Latin American countries and in several Asian and African countries. In Malawi — where 20 percent of all newborns have low birthweight, and more than 20,000 mothers each year bear the tragedy of their newborn babies dying — the majority of hospitals and many health centers provide Kangaroo Mother Care. A recent BBC documentary, Invisible Lives, showed a baby born 14 weeks early and weighing less than 2 lbs (850 gm) who had survived with Kangaroo Mother Care and no technology. Malawi is not the norm, however, as few countries have managed to bring the practice to scale.

"The review released today provides sufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of this proven intervention in health facilities for all stable preterm babies," added Lawn. "This is one time when the research from low-income countries is bringing a breakthrough relevant for all countries. For instance, England and Sweden and other high income countries are starting to use Kangaroo Mother Care."

Low-Cost Intervention Provides Options for Care in Low-Income Countries
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New Research Shows 'Kangaroo Mother Care' Reduces Newborn Deaths More than 50 Percent
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