Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018 | Last Update : 01:42 PM IST

Uttar Pradesh promotes ‘kangaroo care’ for infants

THE ASIAN AGE. | AMITA VERMA
Published : Jun 8, 2017, 2:54 am IST
Updated : Jun 8, 2017, 2:53 am IST

The importance of KMC in the context of UP has been studied by an organisation called Community Empowerment Lab (CEL).

The government has opened 25 Kangaroo Care Lounges across the state.  (Photo: Pixabay)
 The government has opened 25 Kangaroo Care Lounges across the state. (Photo: Pixabay)

Lucknow: The UP government is now promoting kangaroo-care, ensuring skin-to-skin contact between mother and child, for newborns in the state. The government has opened 25 Kangaroo Care Lounges across the state.

Over two lakh newborn babies die in their first year in UP, and half of these children can be saved only if mothers in the state do what kangaroos in Australia do — ensure skin-to-skin contact between the mother and child.

“Kangaroos keep their babies close to their skin till they grow up a bit so they can face the outside world on their own. If new mothers do the same, they can save their babies from complications arising out of low birth weight and hypothermia (the condition of having an abnormally low body temperature),” Alok Kumar, mission director at the national health mission in UP, explained.

“Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC)” is a World Health Organisation recognised concept which originated in Columbia.

“To be implemented through Kangaroo Care Lounges, KMC will be a part of special neonatal care units. The facility will be extended to 61 hospitals by the end of March 2018. It would be taken to the remaining 14 districts subsequently,” said Mr Kumar.

The Kangaroo Care Lounges will be a comfortable arrangement, with large rooms where caregivers, usually mothers, can recline and place their babies over their chest and cover their body with linen or a blanket to facilitate the transfer of heat, even as soft music plays in the background.

The importance of KMC in the context of UP has been studied by an organisation called Community Empowerment Lab (CEL).

According to Dr Vishwajit Kumar, principal researcher and founder of CEL, “Over 50 per cent of the two lakh babies who die in UP each year due to infections and problems like hypothermia can be saved through KMC. The simplicity of KMC is its biggest strength. There is no need of any machine or medication. The transfer of warmth by placing a bare-bodied infant over the chest for 20 hours a day gives the baby all the protection required to fight diseases and infections.”

He said that this concept cuts the cost and risk of incubators and improves chances of survival, lowers risk chronic illness and reduces need for repeated hospitalisation.

Besides the mother, the baby’s father, or any other healthy relative can share the responsibility of kangaroo care. This can also improve chances of infant’s survival in the absence of the mother.

Tags: world health organisation, kangaroo mother care, community empowerment lab
Location: India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow