newborn health

Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between mother and the newborn brings many benefits including its potential to promote the survival of the newborn. Nevertheless, it is a practice that is underutilized in many resource-constrained settings including The Gambia where a high rate of maternal and child mortality has been reported. In this study, we examined the prevalence and determinants of mother and newborn SSC in The Gambia. We used secondary data from The Gambia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)—2018. Data from 9205 women between 15-49 years who gave birth within 5 years of the survey was extracted for the analysis. The results of this study showed that the national prevalence of mother and newborn SSC was 35.7%. Based on results from the logit model, normal weight (at least 2.5 kg) children were 1.37 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with the low birthweight (< 2.5 kg) children (OR = 1.37; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.78). In addition, there was 38% increase in the odds of rural women who reported mother and newborn SSC, compared with urban women (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.79). Women who delivered at health facility were 3.35 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who delivered at home (OR = 3.35; 95% CI: 2.37, 4.75). Furthermore, women who initiated antenatal care (ANC) after the first trimester had 21% reduction in the odds of mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who initiated ANC within the first trimester. There is a need to promote institutional based delivery using skilled birth attendance, promote early ANC initiation and healthy fetal growth.

In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals set targets for social achievements by 2015 including goals related to maternal and child health, with mixed success. Several initiatives supported these goals including assuring availability of appropriate medicines and commodities to meet health service targets. We compiled indicator data on 15 commodities related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health (RMNCH) and analyzed them across 75 Countdown to 2015 countries from eight regions to identify problems with specific commodities and determinants of access. The determinants related to policy, regulatory environment, financing, pharmaceutical procurement and supply chain, and information systems. We also developed a dashboard for policy and systems indicators for select countries. The commodities we identified as having the fewest barriers to access had been in use longer. No country reported recent stock-outs of all the 15 commodities at the central level—countries always had some of the 15 commodities available. This analysis highlights country deficiencies in policies and systems, such as incoherent policy guidelines, problems in product registration, lack of logistics data, and central-level stock-outs that may affect access to essential RMNCH commodities.

The past decade has witnessed increasing global attention and political support for maternal, newborn and child health. Despite this increased attention, actual progress has been slow and sporadic: coverage of key maternal and newborn health interventions remains low and there are wide disparities in access to care, within and across countries.

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