A new family centered approach to maternal and newborn child care piloted in the Hospital Ramón Sarda in Buenos Aries is decreasing neo-natal mortality and will be replicated on a massive scale by UNICEF around the world.
Dr. Miguel Larguia, who has been with the hospital for 40 years, is the person responsible for the new approach.
“The concept of family-centred hospitals is a real change of paradigm because we now recognize as the owners of the house, not the medical doctors or the health agents, but the pregnant mothers and their babies,” he said.
Key features of the program include:
- Involvement of fathers in every stage of the process
- Encouragement of mothers to breastfeed
- Parents have 24 hour access to their newborn
- Special days for other family members to visit and special briefings for them on what to expect, (Especially in the a case of premature births or severe health challenges)
- Free on-site residence for mothers whose babies must stay in hospital for an extended period. (There’s room for 38 mothers at the residence, and they stay an average of two months.)
“This model includes practices that have been shown to be effective in preventing neo-natal mortality,” said UNICEF Health Specialist Zulma Ortiz. “And all of them are based specifically in the relationship between the mother and the son or the daughter – and also the whole family – so the idea is to promote the implementation of this strategy all over the world.”
Two thirds of neonatal and young child deaths – over 6 million deaths each year – are preventable. Supporting programmes like this one is an efficient, cost-effective way to help children survive.