An exploration of perceptions regarding the feasibility of implementation of Kangaroo Mother Care in the maternity ward of Tsumeb district hospital, Namibia
Nuuyoma, Vistolina Nenayishula
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Background: Every year, about 20 million infants are born with low birth weight globally, putting a heavy burden on health care and social systems, especially in developing countries as they are often understaffed and/or lack optimally functional equipment. In 1978, Dr E. Rey proposed the Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) programme which was further developed by coworkers at one of the largest obstetric facilities in Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia. KMC was introduced as an alternative to the expensive and seldom used traditional methods to care for low birth weight infants. KMC is currently not practised at Tsumeb district hospital despite many infants born with low weight in the district. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore perceptions regarding the implementation of Kangaroo Mother Care in the maternity ward of Tsumeb district hospital. Study design: This was a qualitative exploratory study. Study population and sampling: The study population are doctors and nurses working in Tsumeb district, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) as well as the health programme administrators in the family health division of the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS), Oshikoto region. Purposive sampling was used to select participants. Results: Perceptions were grouped into three main themes namely the parent-related, health worker-related and baby-related. Parent-related perceptions include self-trust, increased competency, less frustration, and active involvement of parents in baby care, which are similar to the literature and regarded as benefits of KMC. Health worker-related perceptions included both reduced workload and an increased workload. Baby-related perceptions are reduced morbidity, increased bonding and improved care. The study also revealed the barriers to KMC implementation as well as factors that can make KMC implementation a success. Conclusions: Three broad themes emerged from the study, parent-related, health worker-related and baby-related. Most of the health workers’ perceptions are similar to the benefits of KMC found in the literature but, some health workers have negative perceptions regarding KMC.