Infant care leaps forward with a lesson from kangaroos

The baby was born eight weeks premature. She weighs little more than a kilogram; a tiny bundle in a padded nest battling against death. Her heart flutters.

An alarm sounds, adding to the cacophonous soundtrack of the neonatal intensive-care unit in the Pelonomi Hospital, a sprawling, 44-year-old complex of brown brick buildings southeast of central Bloemfontein. It is typical of many large public hospitals in South Africa: bustling, understaffed and slightly run-down.

“Mamma, kom hier asseblief [Mommy, please come here],” a nurse calls, after silencing the alarm.

The mother gets up from her chair, waddles forward and loosens the straps of her blouse. She tenderly picks up her little one, still connected to electronic monitors, and places the child on her bare bosom. The nurse then secures the child with a kangaroo mother-care wrap. It encircles the mother’s chest and the tiny body, and fits beneath her armpits and over her shoulders. It is then tied at her back. Suddenly, everything is calm. The child’s heart rate slows. Her frown dissolves.

Read more at the M&G.

Image – AFP