Around the world, 15 million babies are born preterm (less than 37 weeks gestation) and 20 million babies are born at low birthweight (less than 2500 grams). In developing areas, such as those where Barakat Bundle works, incubators are often not available to support these preterm or low birth weight babies. Infants born under these conditions are at heightened risk for mortality and can often suffer from hypothermia and infections.
To counter these afflictions in low resource settings, Barakat Bundle educates mothers on the use of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). Originally introduced in 1978 in Bogota, Columbia, KMC rose to popularity in the 1990s. Also known as skin-to-skin care, it is defined by the World Health Organization as “early, continuous, and prolonged skin to skin contact between mother and baby” (similar to that of marsupial kangaroos) at home or in a hospital setting. KMC was developed as an alternative to incubators for low-weight and preterm babies and it has also been proven to help babies and mothers with temperature regulation, bonding, and breastfeeding.
The topic of several clinical studies across the globe, KMC is proven to be a beneficial, low-cost care for all infants, which can reduce infant mortality and increase emotional health for parents and their child. It can be performed by fathers too to stimulate bonding and simulate an incubator-like environment for the baby. The benefits of KMC are further amplified when performed on exclusively breastfed infants.
Barakat Bundle aims to reduce infant mortality in developing areas and KMC is an ideal way to achieve this goal for many families. While incubators and other warming devices are of course valuable, we encourage all families across various resource settings to engage in KMC and take advantage of the many benefits it provides.