Essential newborn care cuts life-threatening infections by two thirds: WHO

Essential newborn care cuts life-threatening infections by two thirds: WHO

Agency News

Manila, Jan 16: If a newborn is immediately provided with Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC), over two thirds of life-threatening infections can be prevented, a WHO study says.

EENC, an immediate care of newborn, recommended by WHO, consists of prolonged skin-to-skin cuddle between mother and baby, which allows proper warming, feeding and umbilical cord care.

According to the study conducted in Vietnam, published in The Lancet journal, EENC strengthens health workers’ skills and improves care. These lead to increased rates of skin-to-skin contact and exclusive breastfeeding, and significant reductions in hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) and sepsis (a dangerous infection in the bloodstream).

Key actions in EECN includes thorough drying, immediate skin-to-skin contact, clamping the cord after pulsations stop, cutting the cord with a sterile instrument and initiating exclusive breastfeeding when the baby shows feeding cues, such as drooling, tonguing, rooting and biting of their hand.

The study compared live birth outcomes in the 12 months before and after EENC was introduced. Data revealed that, after EENC implementation, sepsis cases fell by two thirds (from 3.2 to 0.9 per cent of babies born in the hospital) and hypothermia cases fell by one quarter (from 5.4 to 3.9 per cent)

“A newborn dies every 2 minutes in this Region, but full implementation of EENC could prevent up to half of these deaths,” explained Dr Howard Sobel, Coordinator for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health in WHO’s Western Pacific Region and co-author of the study. (UNI)