Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) intervention involves immediate skin-to-skin contact of mother and baby, frequent breastfeeding and maternal-infant bonding. Trials have shown that KMC at healthcare facilities can reduce neonatal mortality in preterm and low birth weight neonates. However, there is paucity of data on KMC at the community level where most of deliveries occur. This is even more critical for informal settlements with high levels of poverty, poor healthcare provision and weak household and community support mechanisms as is the case with Nairobi’s informal settlements. No conclusive studies have assessed the effectiveness of KMC at a community level in an urban poor setting.
As part of the Ministry of Health community health strategy for improving health, community health workers (CHWs) have been identified and trained to implement primary health care activities, including health education and provision of basic interventions in the community. By tapping this resource, the project will help implement a Kangaroo Mother Care package in two slums of Nairobi city.
Specific activities will include:
1. Training of CHWs on KMC; to develop training materials on KMC, counseling of pregnant mothers, recognition of complications and referral.
2. Support CHWs to implement KMC in the community. Working within their cluster households, the CHWs will:
- Identify and counsel pregnant and new mothers
- Support mothers in providing skin-to-skin contact with the babies, exclusive breast feeding and identify danger signs
- Recognize danger signs among neonates
- Refer neonates with complications for further management.
The proposed intervention will be delivered by Community Health Workers (CHW) and will not only help prevent hypothermia and poor nutrition; it will also empower mothers to identify danger signs. As a result, a larger number of sick babies will receive treatment or will be referred for further management early and thus help prevent deaths from other important causes such as septicemia and pneumonia.