Mounira is a premature baby just 40 centimeters long who has grown thanks to the “kangaroo” method in Côte d’Ivoire. According to Unicef, between January 2019 and October 2022, of the 2,391 premature and low-weight newborns who were treated in the country’s “mother-kangaroo units,” 2,274 survived using this method, representing a success rate of 95%.
Recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), the “kangaroo” method places the mother at the center of her child’s care. In Côte d’Ivoire, where the infant mortality rate is high, especially due to premature births, this method has significantly contributed to reducing neonatal mortality in the country, according to Virginie Konan, a Unicef health specialist. According to UN statistics, mortality has decreased by 10% between 2016 and 2021.
The “kangaroo” method involves the mother carrying her premature baby in direct contact with her skin, providing body warmth and affection. This reduces the baby’s anxiety and stimulates its breathing, preventing sudden death. Côte d’Ivoire has eight hospitals offering this service, with the Treichville hospital being the best equipped.
Successful results in Côte d’Ivoire have led other countries in the region to implement this cost-effective method. Although some women are reluctant due to the appearance and size of premature babies, as well as the fear of harming them, many mothers have experienced the benefits and have seen their babies gain weight and thrive. Kangaroo care has proven to be an effective way to provide care and survival for preterm infants in resource-limited conditions.
In summary, the kangaroo method has been a success in Côte d’Ivoire for the care of premature babies and has significantly contributed to reducing the neonatal mortality rate in the country. As other countries in the region adopt this method, it is hoped that more premature babies will be able to survive and thrive.