FRIDAY 9 DECEMBER 2022
XIII International Kangaroo Mother Care Congress
In November 2022 our CEO and CO-Founder Kylie Pussell was invited to attend the XIII International Kangaroo Mother Care Congress in Madrid Spain as a parent representative. Kylie and Miracle Babies Foundation represented Australian families at this important health care congress which included 4 days of learning through workshops and conference with other parent representatives and clinicians from across the globe, inspiring work being delivered and saving lives right around the world.
In November 2022 in line with World Prematurity Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced their advice for immediate skin to skin care for the survival of small and preterm babies.
The guidelines advise that skin to skin contact with a caregiver – known as kangaroo mother care – should start immediately after birth, without any initial period in an incubator. This marks a significant change from earlier guidance and common clinical practice, reflecting the immense health benefits of ensuring caregivers and their preterm babies can stay close, without being separated, after birth.
“Preterm babies can survive, thrive, and change the world – but each baby must be given that chance,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “These guidelines show that improving outcomes for these tiny babies is not always about providing the most high-tech solutions, but rather ensuring access to essential healthcare that is centered around the needs of families.”
The XIII International Kangaroo Mother Care Congress, hosted by International Network in Kangaroo Mother Care (INK) featured presentations from Colombia, Spain, USA, Filipines, Canada, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, Vietnam, France, India, Ethiopia, Qatar, and Cameroon.
Pictured above: Kylie Pussell - CEO & CoFounder (Miracle Babies Foundation), Silke Mader - Chairwoman of the Executive Board (EFCNI), Monica Virchez - President (Prematura)
“The presentations were inspiring! There is so much good that can come from kangaroo mother care and immediate contact after birth that benefits both baby and mum, dad and partner. That this human connection can save hundreds of thousands of babies lives every year across the world, highlights the miracle of life and love.” - Kylie Pussell, Miracle Babies Foundation CEO said.
An open and emotional presentation from parent and EFCNI (European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants) Chair and Co-Founder, Silke Mader emphasized the importance of parent involvement and the primary care giving role for parents. She encouraged clinicians across the globe to partner with parents and parent groups to continue improving the care for baby and parents.
A presentation delivered by the World Health Organization noted that the current impact of kangaroo mother care globally was a 5% coverage which resulted in the saving of 10,000 babies lives a year. To add impact and scale up implementation research to a 60% coverage would result in the saving of 150,000 babies lives per year and at the high end of the potential with 80% coverage, would prevent 400,000 babies losing their fight for life each year globally.
WHO also shared that 20 million, 15% of all births worldwide are babies born with low birth weight, 95% of these babies are from low and middle income countries and heartbreakingly account for 70-80% of neonatal deaths.
“The WHO guidelines bring home the importance of parents involvement and touch immediately after birth and it is wonderful to see so much research and improvement in zero separation for families from those at the INK congress and beyond.” Kylie Pussell said.
“In Australia we celebrate International Kangaroo Care Day on 15th May each year and host our annual Kangaroo-A-Thon with participating hospitals to raise awareness and education of kangaroo care. This day was established by Yami Jackson, Founder of Zaky Hand and Mum to Zak. We look forward to working together and other global parent groups to support more babies and families have earlier access to kangaroo care and be more involved in their baby’s neonatal journey as the primary care givers.” Kylie Pussell