A multi-year analysis of kangaroo mother care outcomes in low birth weight babies at a Nyakahanga Hospital in rural Tanzania

  • Linda A Winkler
  • Agnes Stypulkowski
  • Shana Noon
  • Theophila Babwanga
  • Jesca Lutahoire
Keywords: Kangaroo mother care; low birth weight; neonatal mortality; premature infant.


Background: Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) requires few specialized resources, reduces mortality, and can be implemented in low resource environments. It is now recommended for implementation around the globe.

Objectives: This paper discusses KMC use with low birth weight newborns at a Tanzania hospital providing valuable outcomes assessment of KMC use in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: The research used retrospective records (136 Low Birth Weight (LBW) and 33 Very Low Birth Weight (VLBW) ne- onates) supplemented by observations. Data included weights (longitudinal), survival period, and cause of death if it occurred. This hospital’s KMC use and study data began when the mother-baby dyad was referred, usually birth day.

Results: This KMC group demonstrated 70% survival, but 77% of deaths occur within 24 hours. After the first 24 hours, KMC survival rate was 92%. Even VLBW neonates (<1000 g) had 37.5% survival among the KMC program. Prematurity and respi- ratory distress caused nearly half of the deaths, but hypothermia (19% of deaths) and infection were factors also.

Conclusion: Our study indicates the value of KMC in rural low resource environments. Results are comparable to KMC pro- grams in urban areas where newborns begin KMC after stabilization and better than outcomes reported for comparable popu- lations not practicing KMC in rural sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Kangaroo mother care; low birth weight; neonatal mortality; premature infant. 


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1680-6905