Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

KangaWrap at Gates Foundation
KangaWrap at Gates Foundation

Sarah (right) with other contributors at the conference

Sarah Gregson, consultant midwife and Trade4Life founder, was recently invited to contribute at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation conference in Rwanda to look at how Kangaroo Care may help  prevent infant deaths in developing countries.

Sarah followed this with 3 weeks in Nepal working in a Birth Centre in Kathmandu as part of the Royal College of Midwives twinning project (another amazing experience!) and got home just 10 days before Christmas…

Sarah’s findings from her time at the Gates Foundation are expressed below:

In summary, the Foundation have recognised that Kangaroo care can significantly improve outcomes for preterm infants, but to date there has been very limited adoption with estimated 5% coverage worldwide.  African women in poor communities are not yet practising Kangaroo widely – they only tend to carry their babies on their backs.

There is also a stigma attached to having a preterm baby and this may also explain the reluctance to do something different, as well as the practicalities of having a baby constantly skin to skin for so long, especially in cases of extreme prematurity.

The picture below shows a Mum who has been doing Kangaroo care for 6 weeks in the hospital and you can imagine how hard this must be for her, but also that this has saved the life of her baby!

Rwanda Baby Kangaroo Care

 The purpose of the forum was to explore whether products could have a part to play in helping to ‘accelerate’ the up take of Kangaroo care. It was an amazing experience to join researchers, business people and other ‘product designers’ to discuss how this could be taken forward. There was considerable interest in the KangaWrap, especially in it’s simplicity of design. A senior neonatologist in South India was really taken with it – as was a researcher from Uganda.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Kangaroo Care, click here.

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