UNICEF helps Pakistan expand kangaroo maternity facilities

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) calls for accelerated efforts to save precious lives of children born prematurely as World Prematurity Day (WDD) is commemorated on November 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – November 16, 2021): United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) calls for accelerated efforts to save precious lives of prematurely born children as World Prematurity Day ( CMB) is commemorated on November 17, 2021.

This year’s theme is Zero Separation Act now! Keep parents and babies born too early together, a press release said here on Tuesday.

In Pakistan, where preterm birth is one of the top three causes of neonatal death and accounts for more than a third of all newborn deaths, UNICEF is working with the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulatory and Coordination and provincial health departments to create Kangaroo Maternal Care Units (KMC) in health facilities across the country to save the lives of children born too early.

KMC is one of the best options for providing care for babies born early in low- and middle-income countries.

“Scaling up kangaroo maternal care in health facilities across Pakistan is a cost-effective intervention to save premature infants,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF representative in Pakistan.

“Introduced in Pakistan by UNICEF a few years ago, KMC has become increasingly popular with health professionals caring for children born early. The essence of KMC is to keep parents and premature babies together against the past practice of separating sick babies and babies from their mothers. The physical and emotional closeness of the baby and the parents during childbirth, childbirth and hospitalization has long-term health benefits for the child. Additional care during pregnancy, comprehensive antenatal care, nutritious nutrition, mental and psychosocial support for pregnant women and birth spacing can reduce premature births, ”Ms. Girma added.

In KMC, the newborn is held tightly to the chest by the parent, mother, or father, with a blanket wrapped around both. Skin-to-skin contact provides warmth and prevents hyperthermia. It is medically beneficial for the baby and good for the parent-child bond.

So far, 30 KMC units have been established in Pakistan with the support of UNICEF and other development partners for the delivery of 24-hour services. UNICEF has provided all necessary equipment and materials. to help establish 24 units in various public health centers – 16 in Punjab, 4 in Sindh, 1 in KP, 1 in AJK and 2 in the capital Islamabad territory. He is working with the government to scale up KMC units across the country.

The government of Pakistan and its development partners are trying to reduce premature births and neonatal mortality due to associated complications such as birth asphyxia, prematurity and sepsis. These efforts have helped reduce neonatal mortality from 55 to 42 deaths per 1,000 live births over the past five years. It has also had a remarkable impact on morbidity in premature infants.

The most vulnerable newborns are those born in marginalized groups, rural areas, urban slums and humanitarian situations. UNICEF emphasizes that reducing premature births and neonatal deaths can be achieved by strengthening health policies and services with an emphasis on maternal nutrition and improving access and care for mothers and newborns. -borns, especially in rural and underserved areas.

Globally, premature birth is one of the leading causes of death in children under 5, as nearly 15 million babies worldwide are born prematurely and nearly one million die from complications related. In 184 countries, the rate of preterm births ranges from 5% to 18% of babies born. Small and sick newborns, most of whom were born prematurely, have the highest risk of death and contribute to the majority of children with disabilities globally.

The inequalities in survival rates around the world are glaring. In low-income settings, half of babies born at 32 weeks or less die from a lack of feasible, cost-effective and effective basic care, e.g. warmth, breastfeeding support, basic care for infections and breathing difficulties.

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