KAMY, (Kangaroo Mother Care Advocates Malaysia) an NGO, has developed a website for the public and healthcare workers to increase awareness about Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) and its importance in improving the health outcomes of newborns and beyond, in particular, for those born premature. KAMY was registered as an NGO in 2017 to help create KMC awareness in Malaysia. Its members are from all over the country. KAMY has been conducting workshops around Malaysia for healthcare personnel, one of which was a pre-Congress workshop at the 40th MPA Annual Congress in 2018.
In conjunction with World Prematurity Day 2022 KAMY launched the website, their first attempt to reach out directly to parents with information about KMC. MPA members may be interested to use this website as an aid to help parents of their patients successfully provide KMC for their baby. The web address is https://kangaroomothercaremalaysia.net/
This website is funded from the prize money of Cochrane’s Anne Anderson Award. Prof Jackie Ho was the recipient of the award in 2021. The prize money from this award is usually donated to a woman in a low or middle income setting to promote Cochrane work. In this case Prof Jackie donated it to Dr Foong Wai Cheng, the initiator of KAMY, to develop this website based on the strong evidence provided by the Cochrane review on Kangaroo Mother Care which showed that KMC not only increased the survival of preterm infants, it also had a lot of very important benefits to babies and their families. Acknowledgment also goes to many who provided input during the development of the website, including MPA members.
In the newly updated World Health Organisation guideline on care of the preterm infant, also launched in conjunction with World Prematurity Day 2022, high certainty evidence has resulted in a new recommendation for KMC.
Link to new recommendations: WHO Recommendations 2022
KMC is now recommended as routine care for every preterm infant and that it should be initiated immediately after birth. From 31 clinical trials, there is high certainty evidence that KMC reduces the risk of death and severe infections in preterm babies. KMC also increases exclusive breastfeeding and weight gain, hence earlier hospital discharge. When KMC is done for more than 8 hours per day these benefits are even greater. Importantly three new clinical trials out in 2021 showed that these benefits increase if KMC is started as soon as possible after birth. The new recommendation implies zero separation of mother and infant. This has big implications for us on how we organise care of the preterm in our hospitals. We all know it’s not easy to implement KMC in our hospital settings. We need awareness, space, and privacy; and these have proven to be major barriers not only here in Malaysia but in other healthcare settings too.
This website is an attempt to actively involve parents to support and advocate for KMC. The website includes sections on: What is KMC, The science and evidence behind KMC, Real stories from parents and healthcare providers, and How parents can get more information or share their stories of their KMC experience. It is hoped that with more awareness created by the website, KMC will one day become a routine part of care for all newborns in Malaysia.
Please check out the KMC website at kangaroomothercaremalaysia.net, share your stories there and please give us feedback on how to make it better.
Associate Professor Dr Foong Siew Cheng
RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (formerly Penang Medical College)
President of Kangaroo Mother Care Advocates Malaysia