Montevideo, 29 November 2022. In the region, 1.5 perinatal or neonatal deaths are registered for every 100 live births. This represents, annually, 100,000 newborn deaths and 131,000 stillbirths. However, a significant proportion of the causes of neonatal and fetal mortality are preventable.
On November 21-24, the regional advisor on Neonatal Health of the Latin American Center for Perinatology - Women's and Reproductive Health (CLAP/WR), Pablo Durán, participated in the workshop and International Mother Kangaroo Congress, which took place in Madrid, Spain. There, he presented the strategy for implementing the method in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Prematurity and its complications have a strong impact on mortality and disability factors. Durán referred to the existing regional and global frameworks and expressed that there is consensus on the need to reinforce activities to promote universal coverage with quality interventions, reduce inequities, strengthen activities that involve families and communities, and improve the information system.
Regarding the Kangaroo Method, the advisor stated that there is vast scientific evidence about its benefits and the impact it has on the health and optimal development of babies, particularly those born prematurely. In this regard, he mentioned several publications that, not only recommend the application of the method, but also include evidence-based best practice guidelines.
Durán also referred to some of the actions that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is developing in the Latin American and Caribbean region. In relation to capacity building, he mentioned the work to strengthen the implementation of the Kangaroo Method in El Salvador and Guatemala, through the training of trainers; as well as a virtual course on the method that will be launched during the first quarter of 2023 and will be available on the PAHO campus. In addition, he commented on a mapping that CLAP/WR is developing jointly with the Kangaroo Foundation of Colombia, to learn more about the degree of implementation of the Kangaroo Method in the region.
The CLAP/WR advisor emphasized the need to strengthen the involvement of families. In this regard, he commented that there are 21 groups of families of premature infants in the region, belonging to 15 countries. CLAP/WR has been working with these organizations and a technical document will soon be published that includes the main characteristics regarding their formation and experiences, as well as audiovisual material that conveys some of the most important concepts and can contribute to the creation and organization of other groups.
Regarding monitoring and evaluation, Durán reported that there is a technical working group for the revision of the neonatal SIP (Perinatal Information System) that has included a specific set of indicators that allow reports to be generated with a single click. In addition, he commented that a regional perinatal surveillance network is in the process of being established.
The advisor also referred to the importance of the inter-institutional approach to this issue, and highlighted the work that has been carried out since 2005 within the framework of the Neonatal Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean.