Kangaroo Care can Help Prematurely Born Infants; Awareness Needed: Dr. Virendra Gaonkar


Kangaroo Care can Help Prematurely Born Infants; Awareness Needed: Dr. Virendra Gaonkar

~India bears a large share of the global burden of preterm births.

~ ‘Kangaroo care’ helps decrease mortality rates and lower the incidence of infections among preterm born babies.



Panaji, November 2023 – Healthway Hospitals, Old Goa observed World Prematurity Day recently, to raise awareness about the preterm deaths of infants. According to a recent United Nations report, of the estimated 13.4 million babies who were born preterm in 2020, five countries including India, China, Pakistan accounted for 45 percent of such births.

The global theme of World Prematurity Day, ‘Small Actions, Big Impact: Immediate skin-to-skin care for every baby, everywhere’ reflects the need for post-birth care in light of the prevalent preterm birth rates observed in India.

Preterm births, defined as births occurring before the completion of 36 weeks of the gestation period, involve a higher risk of the infants experiencing long-term health issues.

The event was organised to create awareness regarding preterm births and to emphasise on the benefits of skin-to-skin care also known as Kangaroo care, a practice recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), which involves the mother holding the baby to the chest for extended periods of time. This approach has proved to boost health outcomes for the infant by enhancing cardiorespiratory and temperature stability, improving neurodevelopmental outcomes and promoting better regulation of pain responses.

In 2021, India recorded a rate of 30.6 percent when it came to the mortality rate of infants under the age of five years, compared to other countries like the US (6.2), Australia (3.7), China (6.9) and Russia (5.1).


The World Prematurity Day event organised by Healthway Hospitals, highlighted antenatal counselling of preterm mothers, neonatal resuscitation, infection control and developmental supportive care. The significance of these processes was conveyed through a poster competition facilitated by the department’s officials. The importance of awareness about admission and discharge of preterm babies and counselling of parents of a sick preterm baby, was demonstrated through a skit competition.

A video featuring Healthway Hospitals’ Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team depicted the journey of a preterm baby in the NICU, offering insights into the challenges faced by premature babies and their families. The video included feedback from parents sharing experiences, challenges, the benefits of Kangaroo Mother Care and their expression of gratitude for the support received.

“It is necessary to raise awareness on issues related to preterm births, such as antenatal counselling, admission procedures for preterm infants, counselling for parents of unwell preterm babies and guidance during the discharge process of the babies for a better understanding of the infant,” says Dr. Virendra Gaonkar, senior consultant paediatrician and chairman of Healthway Hospitals, while advocating the concept of Kangaroo care.

Healthway Hospitals is equipped with a dedicated NICU, with the required infrastructure to cater to the medical requirements of preterm babies.

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