Background: Low birth weight (LBW) is a common outcome of preterm birth, which increases the risk of an infant’s morbidity and mortality. Approximately 20 million infants are born with LBW globally per year. Since a significant number of births in Pakistan take place at home, it is important to focus on the use of kangaroo mother care (KMC), the practice of skin-to-skin contact, in communities to prevent neonatal mortality and morbidity. Objective: We employed a formative research approach to understand the context of communities and facilities with regard to neonatal care and KMC practice. The broader aims were to inform the design and delivery of culturally appropriate platforms to introduce KMC in communities, and develop effective recruitment and retention strategies of KMC in rural areas of the Dadu district in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Methods: We conducted focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and key informant interviews with families of LBW babies, community members, health care providers, and hospital administrators to identify barriers, enablers, and a knowledge base for KMC interventions. Results: Newborn care practices in communities were found to be suboptimal. The community was generally unaware of the KMC intervention for the care of LBW babies. However, facility health care providers, the community, and family members were willing to provide KMC to improve outcomes. We found significant support from the community members and health care providers for KMC practices. Mothers were also ready to provide intermittent KMC. The administrative staff at the hospitals accepted the introduction of KMC practices for LBW babies. Conclusions: KMC as a method of treating LBW babies is widely accepted in the community. This formative research provides strategically valuable information that will be helpful for developing effective implementation strategies by identifying common community practices for LBW babies, along with identifying the barriers and enablers to KMC practice.
- Kangaroo mother care
- Low birth weight
- Neonatal mortality formative research
- Newborn care