New research has pointed to the importance of keeping mothers and newborns together — even when a coronavirus infection is suspected or confirmed, according to the World Health Organization.
The WHO, citing two new studies recently published in Lancet EclinicalMedicine and BMJ Global Health, respectively, said that the pandemic is "severely affecting the quality of care given to small and sick newborns, resulting in unnecessary suffering and deaths."
In many countries, when a mother has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, her newborn is separated from her, which the world health agency says puts the newborns at a "higher risk of death and lifelong health complications."
"This is especially the case in the poorest countries where the greatest number of preterm births and infant deaths occur," the WHO said in a news release.
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Citing the Lancet EclinicalMedicine study, the WHO said that ensuring so-called "kangaroo mother care" — kangaroo mother typically involves close contact between a newborn and its mother — could help save the lives of some 125,000 babies, especially those who were born prematurely.
"Among infants born preterm or at low birthweight, kangaroo mother care has been shown to reduce infant deaths by as much as 40%, hypothermia by more than 70%, and severe infections by 65%," the WHO said.
Separately, a study from BMJ Global Health based on a global survey of some 1,120 neonatal health care providers across 62 countries found that some two-thirds said they do not allow mothers with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborn, while nearly 25% did not allow breastfeeding "even by uninfected caregivers."
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A large majority of those surveyed reported fear for their own health and shortages of personal protective equipment, among other reasons.
However, according to the WHO, "studies have reported mainly no symptoms or mild disease from COVID-19 in infected newborns, with low risk of neonatal death. This new study estimates that the risk of newborns catching COVID-19 would result in fewer than 2000 deaths."
As a result, the WHO is advising that mothers should continue to share a room with their newborns, as well breastfeeding them and practicing skin-to-skin contact "even when COVID-19 infections are suspected or confirmed."
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The new mothers should also be "supported to ensure appropriate infection prevention practice," officials added.
"Disruptions to essential health services during COVID-19 have severely affected the quality of care provided to some of the most vulnerable babies, and this includes their right to the lifesaving contact they need with their parents," said Dr. Anshu Banerjee, director for Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing at WHO, in a statement. "Decades of progress in reducing child deaths will be jeopardized unless we act now to protect and improve quality care services for mothers and newborns, and expand coverage of lifesaving interventions like kangaroo mother care."
He said: "O Adam! Tell them their natures." When he had told them, Allah said: "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth, and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?" And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith. (The Cow 33-34 )