the method that helps the well-being of newborns

In the Seventh Commission of the Senate, a bill was presented that seeks that the ‘kangaroo mother’ technique be applied in all hospitals in the country. This method has been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

Childbirth - Newborns
The ‘Kangaroo Mother’ is a technique that helps care for newborns. – Photo: Getty Images

“’Kangaroo Mom’ is an innovative methodology for the treatment and outpatient management of premature and low birth weight infants”, says UNICEF on its website. In addition, she explains that elements such as maternal warmth, breastfeeding, and the kangaroo position are the pillars of the technique. One of the benefits, apart from contributing to the loving mother-child relationship, is to keep the respiratory and cardiac pattern of the newborn in balance and safely.

To perform it, it is enough to lay the baby on the chest and hold it with a special bra, so that it does not run the risk of falling and can remain in constant contact with the mother’s skin and feel the maternal warmth, similar to what it felt previously. in the womb. Its name comes from the way in which female kangaroos carry their young in their marsupial pouches.

The UN body also states that this procedure is a cheaper alternative to hospitalization. According to their figures, for example, in the United States, intensive care for babies with this condition costs between $3,000 and $5,000 per day in the United States and approximately $200 per day in developing countries. The ‘kangaroo mother’ treatment is estimated to cost US$ 4.6, which means a decrease in price and allows it to be performed at home rather than in hospital.

In 1978, the pediatricians Édgar Rey and Héctor Martínez from the Faculty of Medicine of the National University of Colombia were the creators of this methodology. The Pan American Health Organization explains that both invented it to mitigate the lack of incubators (they could not attend the hundred daily deliveries) in the medical centers at the San Juan de Dios Hospital – Maternal and Child Institute and not force the mother to separate of her newborn son.

The technique was awarded in 1991 by the WHO, granting it the Sasakawa Prize for Health and, in 2017, it was recognized within the framework of the XV World Congress of Public Health in Australia. In an interview with El Nuevo Siglo, pediatrician Mery Yolanda Cifuentes recalls that, for the year in which the method was created, “the weight of some newborns did not exceed 2,000 grams”, which is why the ‘kangaroo mother’ helped the treatments.


Agmeth Escaf, senator of the Historical Pact and president of the Seventh Committee of the Senate, presented a bill to the General Secretary of the Chamber to ensure that all clinics with maternal units apply this technique to newborns. “We have to say that our system has failed premature, low birth weight babies and their families. In cities like Quibdó, where there are no neonatal care units, close to 20% of babies born are premature and we do not have a specific, timely and quality care system for their care,” the senator said in today’s plenary session. .

The arguments that support the proposal, said Escaf are:

The ‘kangaroo mother’ guarantees well-being for the premature baby and the mother; besides being a viable method for anyone and without the need for hospitalization.

He also stated that in the country there are 686 care units for newborns, but 32% are the only ones that can allocate resources for hospital treatment. “According to these guidelines, skin-to-skin contact with the caregiver should take place immediately after birth, known as the ‘kangaroo mother care’, instead of dedicating the first phase after delivery to incubator care”indicated.

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