the COVID-19 pandemic It is severely affecting the care of premature or sick newborn babies, with many of them being unnecessarily separated from their mothers and at risk of death or long-term health problems, world health experts said Tuesday.
Two new studies cited by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that thousands of neonatal health workers do not allow mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborns, and nearly one quarter of respondents do not allow breastfeeding.
However, keep mothers and babies together and encourage all babies to have so-called “kangaroo mother care”, which involves early and very close contact between a mother and a child. newborn – could save more than 125,000 lives, according to a study published in the Lancet EclinicalMedicine Magazine.
Newborn babies around the world have a “right to life-saving contact with their parents,” and this should not be denied due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Anshu Banerjee, WHO expert on maternal and newborn health. .
“Decades of progress in reducing child deaths will be in jeopardy unless we act now,” he said in a statement.
The WHO says mothers should continue to room with their babies from birth and be able to breastfeed and have skin-to-skin contact, even when COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed.
But a study in the BMJ Global Health Magazine found that two-thirds of the 1,120 healthcare workers surveyed worldwide said they would separate mothers and babies with a positive COVID-19 test or if it was unclear whether they might have COVID-19.
More than 85% of respondents reported fearing for their own health, with personal protection equipment (PPE), stress and safety among the main concerns. In some hospitals, the survey found, vital resources, including oxygen supplies and staff, were being moved from newborn wards to COVID-19 wards.