Progress with the implementation of kangaroo mother care in four regions in Ghana

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    AIM : To measure progress with the implementation of kangaroo mother care (KMC) for low birth-weight (LBW) infants at a health systems level. DESIGN : Action research design, with district and regional hospitals as the unit of analysis. SETTING : Four regions in Ghana, identified by the Ghana Health Service and UNICEF. PARTICIPANTS : Health workers and officials, health care facilities and districts in the four regions. INTERVENTION : A one-year implementation programme with three phases: (1) introduction to KMC, skills development in KMC practice and the management of implementation; (2) advanced skills development for regional steering committee members; and (3) an assessment of progress at the end of the intervention. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES : Description of practices, services and facilities for KMC and the identification of strengths and challenges. RESULTS : Twenty-six of 38 hospitals (68%) demonstrated sufficient progress with KMC implementation. Half of the hospitals had designated a special ward for KMC. 66% of hospitals used a special record for infants receiving KMC. Two of the main challenges were lack of support for mothers who had to remain with their LBW infants in hospital and no follow-up review services for LBW infants in 39% of hospitals. CONCLUSIONS : It was possible to roll out KMC in Ghana, but further support for the regions is needed to maintain the momentum. Lessons learned from this project could inform further scale-up of KMC and other projects in Ghana.