Prevention and management of neonatal hypothermia in rural Zambia

  • K. L
  • K. Y
  • D.R. M
 et al. 
  • 21


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • N/A


    Citations of this article.


BACKGROUND: Neonatal hypothermia is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for newborn survival. The World Health Organization recommends maintaining a warm chain and skin-to-skin care for thermoprotection of newborn children. Since little is known about practices related to newborn hypothermia in rural Africa, this study's goal was to characterize relevant practices, attitudes, and beliefs in rural Zambia.

METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted 14 focus group discussions with mothers and grandmothers and 31 in-depth interviews with community leaders and health officers in Lufwanyama District, a rural area in the Copperbelt Province, Zambia, enrolling a total of 171 participants. We analyzed data using domain analysis. In rural Lufwanyama, community members were aware of the danger of neonatal hypothermia. Caregivers' and health workers' knowledge of thermoprotective practices included birthplace warming, drying and wrapping of the newborn, delayed bathing, and immediate and exclusive breastfeeding. However, this warm chain was not consistently maintained in the first hours postpartum, when newborns are at greatest risk. Skin-to-skin care was not practiced in the study area. Having to assume household and agricultural labor responsibilities in the immediate postnatal period was a challenge for mothers to provide continuous thermal care to their newborns.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding and addressing community-based practices on hypothermia prevention and management might help improve newborn survival in resource-limited settings. Possible interventions include the implementation of skin-to-skin care in rural areas and the use of appropriate, low-cost newborn warmers to prevent hypothermia and support families in their provision of newborn thermal protection. Training family members to support mothers in the provision of thermoprotection for their newborns could facilitate these practices.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *hypothermia/pc [Prevention]
  • *newborn care
  • Diseases/ep [Epidemiology]
  • Diseases/pc [Prevention]
  • Infant
  • Newborn
  • Zambia
  • article
  • attitude to health
  • bath
  • birthplace
  • breast feeding
  • caregiver
  • child
  • child care
  • clinical practice
  • community care
  • desiccation
  • disease prevention
  • epidemiology
  • female
  • grandmother
  • health auxiliary
  • health care
  • health care delivery
  • health protection
  • health survey
  • high risk infant
  • household
  • human
  • human diseases
  • hypothermia
  • hypothermia/ep [Epidemiology]
  • hypothermia/pc [Prevention]
  • infant
  • kangaroo care
  • major clinical study
  • mother
  • neonatal mortality
  • neonates
  • newborn
  • newborn mortality
  • parent
  • postnatal care
  • preschool child
  • procedures
  • protective clothing
  • puerperium
  • risk factor
  • rural areas
  • rural population
  • survival
  • thermoregulation
  • warming

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Lunze K.

  • Yeboah-Antwi K.

  • Marsh D.R.

  • Kafwanda S.N.

  • Musso A.

  • Semrau K.

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free