Barriers for kangaroo mother care (KMC) acceptance, and practices in southern Ethiopia: a model for scaling up uptake and adherence using qualitative study

Selamawit Mengesha Bilal, Henok Tadele, Teshome Abuka Abebo, Birkneh Tilahun Tadesse, Mekonnen Muleta, Fitsum W/Gebriel, Akalewold Alemayehu, Yusuf Haji, Dejene Hailu Kassa, Ayalew Astatkie, Anteneh Asefa, Million Teshome, Aknaw Kawza, Shemels Wangoro, Thomas Brune, Nalini Singhal, Bogale Worku, Khalid Aziz

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Globally, approximately 15 million babies are born preterm every year. Complications of prematurity are the leading cause of under-five mortality. There is overwhelming evidence from low, middle, and high-income countries supporting kangaroo mother care (KMC) as an effective strategy to prevent mortality in both preterm and low birth weight (LBW) babies. However, implementation and scale-up of KMC remains a challenge, especially in lowincome countries such as Ethiopia. This formative research study, part of a broader KMC implementation project in Southern Ethiopia, aimed to identify the barriers to KMC implementation and to devise a refined model to deliver KMC across the facility to community continuum.

METHODS: A formative research study was conducted in Southern Ethiopia using a qualitative explorative approach that involved both health service providers and community members. Twenty-fourin-depth interviewsand 14 focus group discussions were carried out with 144study participants. The study applied a grounded theory approach to identify,examine, analyse and extract emerging themes, and subsequently develop a model for KMC implementation.

RESULTS: Barriers to KMC practice included gaps in KMC knowledge, attitude and practices among parents of preterm and LBW babies;socioeconomic, cultural and structural factors; thecommunity's beliefs and valueswith respect to preterm and LBW babies;health professionals' acceptance of KMC as well as their motivation to implement practices; and shortage of supplies in health facilities.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests a comprehensive approach with systematic interventions and support at maternal, family, community, facility and health care provider levels. We propose an implementation model that addresses this community to facility continuum.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)25
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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