From 21 to 24 November 2022, experts from all over the world came together to exchange knowledge regarding the latest Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) practices. EFCNI was honoured to attend the conference on-site and was thrilled to meet old friends and new ones and to work together with the KMC community towards the best possible care for preterm born babies and their families.
It was a pleasure to attend the 13th International Conference on Kangaroo Mother Care from 21 to 24 November on-site in Madrid. Four days packed with insightful workshops and lectures from worldwide experts on the latest KMC practices are behind us, and EFCNI Chairwoman Silke Mader had the honour to contribute to the diverse congress programme with a session on the importance of parent organisations for the dissemination of Kangaroo Mother Care. In her talk, Silke Mader highlighted the driving force of collaboration when it comes to improving health and care of preterm born babies all around the world. Parent organisations are powerful partners, change makers and a strong advocacy force and fulfill new roles in the area of patient support, health policy and awareness raising as well as research and education. Only by acting jointly, we can drive changes for preterm care on a national, European as well as global level!
As another conference highlight, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the latest, updated guidelines on providing KMC for preterm born babies, with Silke Mader contributing the parental perspective in this area. As part of these strong recommendations, Kangaroo Mother Care is recommended as routine care for all preterm or low-birth-weight infants and should be initiated as soon as possible after birth. It can be provided not only within healthcare facilities, but also at home. Besides, family members should have access to KMC 8-24 hours per day and generally as many hours as possible. These strong recommendations are truly the right step towards an infant- and family centred policy on neonatal intensive care units.
In summary, these four days offered remarkable sessions on current KMC research. In their lectures, speakers highlighted the importance of mother-newborn couplet care in order to ensure zero separation for all newborn infants, discussed about the fortification of human milk and how we can provide the best possible nutrition, especially for babies born too soon and too small, and reported on first-hand experiences regarding immediate KMC and KMC during the Covid-19 pandemic. Programs regarding parental involvement and KMC were introduced and the latest research findings were presented, e.g. the protective, long-term effects of KMC on cognitive functioning in preterm born adults. During the first two workshop days, participants had the opportunity to discuss about the sessions in small groups, exchange their views and learn from each other.
We would like to thank Dr. Nathalie Charpak and Dr. Carmen Pallás for organising the conference and tirelessly advocating for providing KMC as a human right for both babies and families in neonatal intensive care units worldwide. We are looking forward to the next conference!
More information about the workshop and congress topics can be found at: www.kangaroomothercare.org