Have you heard about kangaroo care?

UNICEF Kangaroo Care programme

Image obtained from

Giving birth to a premature baby is difficult no matter what, but in a developing nation where resources and training are severely limited it is even harder for both the mother and her baby.

Recognising this challenge, UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) launched a project four years ago in Malawi called Kangaroo Care. Today there are more than 10 hospitals that provide nurses with training and offer Kangaroo Care to high-risk premature babies and their mothers.

What exactly is Kangaroo Care?

Kangaroo Care is a special baby unit that has been very successful in providing the necessary resources and training to high-risk premature babies so that they gain weight and not only survive, but also thrive. Kangaroo Care cares for both the mother and her baby until the baby weighs 1.5 kg and is able to breastfeed unaided.

While the mother and her baby are at the hospital, Kangaroo Care teaches the mother how to hold her baby and pass her warmth onto her baby. It also offers counselling services to the mother to help her bond with her baby.

Why is it called Kangaroo Care?

The programme is known as Kangaroo Care, because a part of the health care offered includes the use of a cloth “pouch” to hold the premature baby in place so that he/she can benefit from skin-to-skin contact with his/her mother.

Does UNICEF offer anything else to the Kangaroo Care programme?

In addition to building hospitals and training nurses for the Kangaroo Care programme UNICEF:

  • gives each baby a pair of warm booties and a warm hat.
  • provides each bed with a heater and mosquito net.
  • supplies milk and peanut paste, as well as any other necessary medical equipment for the health and development of each baby.

View the following UNICEF UK video if you wish a bit more information.

What do you think of the Kangaroo Care programme? Do you know of any similar programmes? Are any close to your heart?

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