Adopt kangaroo mother care technique to save premature infants – Paediatrician

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An Associate Professor of Paediatrics, Chijioke Ezeudu, of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, says adopting the Kangaroo mother care method can save preterm or premature babies.

Ezeudu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday that Kangaroo mother care was a simple and cheap method of saving the lives of preterm babies in situations where incubators were unavailable.

He described the kangaroo mother care as a method of using a pouch made from local fabrics or a pre-made pouch to attach a premature baby in between the mother’s breasts for skin-to-skin contact.

According to him, the skin-to-skin contact provides the warmth and temperature the incubators would have provided for the premature baby.

Ezeudu said the animal called Kangaroo, which is about 1.8 metres tall, had a pouch under its abdomen and naturally delivered its babies premature, as tiny as three to four centimeters.

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“When the kangaroo baby is born, it will enter the mother’s pouch, attached permanently to the breast, and will be sucking the breast until it is fully mature.

Prof. Chijioke Ezeudu, Pediatrician, demonstrating the Kangaroo mother care method

“Then the mother will bring out the mature baby kangaroo from the pouch and it will start walking around.

“So, that was where this method was adopted. If Animals can survive, it means that human beings can also survive.

“We have cases where incubator services might not be readily available, this method has proven to be wonderful. It gives almost the same result as a baby that has been nursed in an incubator all over the world,” he said.

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The paediatrician said the kangaroo mother care method could be adopted if there was a shortage of incubators or the technicalities in the use of the incubators proved difficult.

According to him, the method could be continuous or intermittent depending on the hours the baby is attached to the body of the mother.

He says the attachment for the continuous method takes 18 hours per day, while the intermittent attachment takes two, four to six hours daily.

“The idea is that the premature baby is put in between the mother’s breasts for skin-to-skin contact to provide the warmth and temperature the incubators would have provided for the baby.

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“The heartbeat and respiration of the mother help to equalise the baby’s heartbeat and helps the baby to breathe and the bonding between the mother and the baby is achieved.

“The baby attached to his mother’s breasts can also be breastfeeding comfortably and the mother can also walk around and carry on with her normal chores in the home while the baby is on kangaroo mother care.

“The beauty of kangaroo mother care is that anybody can practice it. If the mother is so tired, the father, grandmother, aunt, uncle, or anybody around can take over to provide warmth for the baby,” Ezeudu said.

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