Contact between parent, child medically beneficial for both: Unicef.

ISLAMABAD -- Physical contact between a parent and child at birth is medically beneficial for both and can also prevent hypothermia.

This was highlighted by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) as Pakistan joins the global community to commemorate the 'World Prematurity Day' observed on Thursday (today) under the theme 'A parent's Embrace: Powerful Therapy'.

The theme refers to the concept of Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), one of the best options to provide care for premature babies in low-income countries.

In KMC, a newborn is held by the parent (mother or father) with a blanket wrapped around both. The physical contact provides warmth and prevents hypothermia.

Preterm birth is one of the three leading causes for neonatal mortality and accounts for more than one third of all newborn deaths in Pakistan. Globally, preterm birth is one of the leading causes of child deaths under the age of five as almost 15 million babies in the world are born prematurely and nearly 1 million die due to related complications.

KMC was introduced in Pakistan by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) since 2017 to curtail the high infant mortality rate in the country. Unicef in collaboration with the Ministry of National Health Services and provincial health departments has supported establishment of 41 Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) units across the country.

Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from five per cent to 18 per cent of babies born. Small and sick newborns, most of whom are born preterm, have the highest risk of death and contribute to the majority of the world's disabled children. KMC has now been...

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