Status: Funded - Open
BACKGROUND: Fifteen to twenty percent of all births worldwide are low birth weight or premature, one quarter of which occur in India, making it the epicenter of this problem. Low birth weight and prematurity contribute to neonatal death, stunted growth, cognitive deficits, and chronic comorbidity. GAP: Kangaroo Care is a low-cost method that can mitigate consequences of low birth weight and prematurity; however, it is yet to be widely accepted and integrated in routine practice. More research is needed to understand the potential long-term benefits of Kangaroo Care among former neonates admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), including child growth, cognitive development, and chronic morbidity. HYPOTHESIS: We hypothesize that in comparison to pre-adolescent children who did not receive Kangaroo Care during NICU hospitalization, those who received Kangaroo Care will have improved physical growth, enhanced cognitive development, and reduced morbidity. METHODS: This longitudinal study will follow-up of a cohort of 648 neonates who were admitted to a NICU in rural Anand, Gujarat, India between 2010 and 2014 and are now between the ages of 7-11 years old. Data will be collected about their physical growth, cognitive development, and co-morbidities. RESULTS: Pending. IMPACT: Successful completion of this project will illustrate the long-term benefits of Kangaroo Care among neonates while hospitalized in the NICU, which will support the development of public health policy focused on increasing awareness and practice of Kangaroo Care among neonates.