Supporting Kangaroo Care across Ukraine

We want to take the opportunity to congratulate our partner parent organisation in Ukraine, “Ranni Ptashky – Early Birds” on another successfully completed project to improve the situation of preterm born babies in Ukraine.

Last year in November, “Ranni Ptashky” partnered with Kimberly-Clark Ukraine to use the global momentum around World Prematurity Day 2020 for positive change and improve the situation in NICUs across Ukraine. Kimberly-Clark Ukraine sold nappies from TM Huggies, donating 5 Ukrainian Hryvnia (HUA) per package to charity. In the end, 1 million HUA were raised (approximately 31,000 Euros) and donated with the aim to support families in the NICU.

© Ranni Ptashky

With the money, “Ranni Ptashky” purchased special chairs, sweaters and blankets in order to create the opportunity for kangaroo care in NICUs in 17 cities in Ukraine. The project was a resounding success and exceeded all expectations as NICUs across the country applied eagerly for the chairs, sweaters, and blankets. Parents were equally delighted about receiving material support so that they could practice extensive kangarooing with their babies – as the many pictures show. But, as Oleksandra Balyasna, head and founder of “Ranni Ptashky”, has pointed out: “The real reward of the project are the hundreds of hours parents have since then spent kangarooing with their babies, thus improving nursing results and leading to healthier babies who often could be discharged from the hospital at an earlier date.”

© Ranni Ptashky

Kangaroo care aims to maximize the physical contact between parents and babies born too small and too sick. The baby lies skin-to-skin on the parent’s bare chest, allowing close and trustful contact between parent and baby. Research shows that kangaroo care has significant health benefits for sick and preterm born babies. Among other effects, it stabilizes the baby’s heart rate, improves breathing, reduces stress and crying, and leads to fast weight gains – all crucial aspects when it comes to ensuring good health outcomes for preterm born babies. In fact, Kangaroo care has been shown to reduce morbidity and mortality in low-birth-weight babies. Parents also benefit from engaging in kangaroo care as the practice empowers them to became central care takers of their baby in the NICU. Studies show that it helps parents to bond strongly with their baby, calms them down, and allows them to get to know their child intimately.