n South African Journal of Child Health - Education and training in the implementation of kangaroo mother care




In the past three decades, kangaroo mother care (KMC) has been established as a safe and effective method of infant care, with the potential for improving the survival of low-birth-weight newborns, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Despite many implementation, education and training efforts, some countries are finding it difficult to increase their coverage of KMC, and individual institutions still struggle to get KMC institutionalised in a sustainable way. In the past decade a better understanding has emerged on the health system pathways followed in the implementation of KMC.

The initiative reported in this paper started out with a review of education and training practices in the implementation of KMC across the world. This was discussed at an international workshop and further inputs were derived from individuals' experience, unpublished literature provided by colleagues, and published material. This report gives an overview of some of the key implementation and training issues identified by the group and recommendations emanating from the collaborative process.
A triangular change process that includes change agents and the choice of implementation and educational models is proposed. The different functions for change agents as drivers, trainers and implementers are discussed. The grassroots, policy and academic dimensions are presented as different pathways for initiating KMC. Educational models are developed locally and are determined by the context.
Education and training in KMC should be underpinned by the same basic understanding of the concept and should be accompanied by the creation of awareness, committed 'champions', multidisciplinary teamwork and continuous support from senior management. It should be based on the evidence produced by research, conducted according to current best practice in education, and locally appropriate and applicable.


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