Progress with the implementation of kangaroo mother care in four regions in Ghana

Ghana Med J. 2013 Jun;47(2):57-63.


Aim: To measure progress with the implementation of kangaroo mother care (KMC) for low birth-weight (LBW) infants at a health systems level.

Design: Action research design, with district and regional hospitals as the unit of analysis.

Setting: Four regions in Ghana, identified by the Ghana Health Service and UNICEF.

Participants: Health workers and officials, health care facilities and districts in the four regions.

Intervention: A one-year implementation programme with three phases: (1) introduction to KMC, skills development in KMC practice and the management of implementation; (2) advanced skills development for regional steering committee members; and (3) an assessment of progress at the end of the intervention.

Main outcome measures: Description of practices, services and facilities for KMC and the identification of strengths and challenges.

Results: Twenty-six of 38 hospitals (68%) demonstrated sufficient progress with KMC implementation. Half of the hospitals had designated a special ward for KMC. 66% of hospitals used a special record for infants receiving KMC. Two of the main challenges were lack of support for mothers who had to remain with their LBW infants in hospital and no follow-up review services for LBW infants in 39% of hospitals.

Conclusions: It was possible to roll out KMC in Ghana, but further support for the regions is needed to maintain the momentum. Lessons learned from this project could inform further scale-up of KMC and other projects in Ghana.

Keywords: Ghana; evaluation; implementation; kangaroo mother care; premature infant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ghana
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inservice Training
  • Kangaroo-Mother Care Method / organization & administration*
  • Length of Stay
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Discharge
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Program Development*
  • Program Evaluation*