Experiences of Parents on Kangaroo Mother Care in the Neonatal Clinic at Kenyatta National Hospital
Keywords:Kangaroo mother care, experiences, perceptions, feelings, skin to skin contact, and support.
Background: Kangaroo mother care (KMC) is a practice used to care for premature infants and low birth weight babies (LBW). It has been endorsed by the World health organization (WHO) as a cheap and reliable method of reducing neonatal mortality. It is widely practiced and has gained popularity in Kenya. Objective: Explore experiences of parents on Kangaroo mother care in the neonatal clinic at the Kenyatta National Hospital. Methods: A qualitative study involving Seventeen participants (n-17) recruited from parents who had practiced KMC. Sampling was purposive and those who met the eligibility criteria were recruited. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted using an interview guide. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Common themes were identified iteratively. Results: Three major themes emerged from the analysis: Normalization of birth experience, need for commitment and enabling the practice. The participants reported that they were afraid and worried about their baby’s survival before initiation into KMC. However during KMC, they became more confident as they participated in provision of care to their infants. They also reported reduction of stress and anxiety and enhanced family relations which gave them deep satisfaction as they got to know their infant. Participants associated reduction of infections, provision of warmth and faster growth to improved infant survival with KMC. Most participants felt that KMC required a lot of commitment to realize its benefits and at times, the practice causes interruptions in daily lives. The participants had mixed feelings regarding KMC practice due to limited information and the physical effects of the practice. Majority reported that they received enough support from their families and health team. Conclusions: KMC allows the parents to participate in the care, provides psychological healing, its tiring and time consuming and require a lot of commitment for its benefits to be realized. Recommendations: KMC should be practiced in all hospitals, Awareness and information about causes of prematurity/LBW and the option of practicing KMC should be encouraged in high risk group. Institutional recommendations included, provision of entertainment to mothers, review of meal time, one baby per incubator and deploy a doctor throughout in Kangaroo ward.
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