Report on an international workshop on kangaroo mother care: lessons learned and a vision for the future.BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2018 May 16; 18(1):170.BP
Globally, complications of prematurity are the leading cause of death in children under five. Preterm infants who survive their first month of life are at greater risk for various diseases and impairments in infancy, childhood and later life, representing a heavy social and economic burden for families, communities and health and social systems. Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is recommended as a beneficial and effective intervention for improving short- and long-term preterm birth outcomes in low- and high-income settings. Nevertheless, KMC is not as widely used as it should be. The International Network on KMC runs biennial workshops and congresses to help improve the coverage and quality of KMC worldwide. This paper reports the results of the two-day workshop held in November 2016, where 92 participants from 33 countries shared experiences in a series of round tables, group work sessions and plenaries.
Barriers to and enablers of KMC are discussed with regard to parents, health workers and the health system. Key factors for effective implementation and uptake relate to appropriate training for health staff, adherence to protocols and the creation of a welcoming environment for families. Recommendations for planning for national programmes are made according to a six-stage change model. Resources and the cost of making progress are discussed in terms of investment, maintenance, and acceleration and scaling-up costs. KMC training requirements are presented according to three levels of care. To ensure quality KMC, key requisites are proposed for the different KMC components and for sensitive communication with caregivers. The group attending to the monitoring and evaluation of KMC at a national and subnational level highlight the lack of standard indicator definitions. Key priorities for investment include health services research, harmonisation of indicators, development of a costing tool, programming and scaling up, and the follow-up of preterm infants.
It is hoped that this report will help to further scale-up and sustain KMC through a systematic approach that includes raising commitment, identifying key strategies to address the main barriers and using existing facilitators, ensuring training and quality, agreeing on indicators for monitoring and evaluation, and advancing implementation research.