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Every Birthday is a Day to Give Back: Jessica’s Story
While preparing for life with twins, Jessica never imagined she’d watch her newborn babies fight for their lives. Low birth weight put Jessica’s newborn at great risk in a country where 34 out of 1,000 babies born don’t survive to reach their first birthday1.
Worldwide, more than 1 million babies die on the first day of life. Their birthday the most dangerous day for newborns in nearly every country2.
But Jessica was fortunate to deliver her twins at a Save the Children-supported hospital in Kenya. Pumwani Maternity Hospital is one of seven Nairobi hospitals providing effective, low-cost health treatment and techniques, including Kangaroo Mother Care. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives (SNL) program is a globally recognized leader in newborn health.
Jessica’s babies are wrapped on her chest much like a Kangaroo mother holds her young. The skin-to-skin contact is a method that’s proven effective for the growth of tiny babies by regulating their temperature and heartrate, encouraging breastfeeding, and promoting a bonding experience for mother and child.
Being a first-time mom to low-birth-weight babies comes with a unique set of challenges that Jessica is coping with thanks to support from the program and other mothers like her. “Being in a room with other KMC mothers gives me the morale,” she said. “The interaction amongst ourselves as mothers… there's something very instrumental and supportive about it.”
The KMC program at Pumwani includes a weekly support group session conducted by Dr. Orina, who instructs the mothers while they sit with very small babies wrapped on their chests. “Anyone can do Kangaroo Mother Care,” he tells the room. “You need to be willing from the bottom of your heart and your mind.”
He calls on certain mothers to share their own stories and encouragement. These are KMC Champion Mothers who have graduated the program and now dedicate their time to coaching others through the process.
25-year-old Stella is one of the Champion Mothers who helps Jessica practice KMC. Stella was a beneficiary of the program six months ago when her own twins were born under three pounds each. After graduating the program, she was inspired to return to Pumwani and help other mothers in need.
Save the Children knows that every mother and every child must have access to high-impact care that will save their lives. We know that we need to create mother and baby-friendly health systems to deliver lifesaving interventions to newborns so that more babies will live to see their first birthday – and many more.
But this knowledge is only as good as the people who help put it into action. Save the Children needs your help this year to change the lives of millions of newborn babies. Get involved by donating your birthday and help a baby live to see celebrate theirs.
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