newborn mortality

Skin-to-skin contact (SSC) between mother and the newborn brings many benefits including its potential to promote the survival of the newborn. Nevertheless, it is a practice that is underutilized in many resource-constrained settings including The Gambia where a high rate of maternal and child mortality has been reported. In this study, we examined the prevalence and determinants of mother and newborn SSC in The Gambia. We used secondary data from The Gambia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS)—2018. Data from 9205 women between 15-49 years who gave birth within 5 years of the survey was extracted for the analysis. The results of this study showed that the national prevalence of mother and newborn SSC was 35.7%. Based on results from the logit model, normal weight (at least 2.5 kg) children were 1.37 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with the low birthweight (< 2.5 kg) children (OR = 1.37; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.78). In addition, there was 38% increase in the odds of rural women who reported mother and newborn SSC, compared with urban women (OR = 1.38; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.79). Women who delivered at health facility were 3.35 times as likely to have mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who delivered at home (OR = 3.35; 95% CI: 2.37, 4.75). Furthermore, women who initiated antenatal care (ANC) after the first trimester had 21% reduction in the odds of mother and newborn SSC, compared with women who initiated ANC within the first trimester. There is a need to promote institutional based delivery using skilled birth attendance, promote early ANC initiation and healthy fetal growth.

In the past 30 years, debate has raged over maternal influence on infant death in Northeast Brazil. Scheper-Hughes, in two acclaimed articles and a book, sparked the controversy by alleging that nordestina mothers disinvest disfavored children of resources, thereby contributing to their deaths. We propose an interpretation of maternal investment through retrospective contextualization of a three-tiered series of factors. Between 2011 and 2013, we analyzed 316 ethnographic interviews about childhood death collected in the interior of Ceará. Our subsample comprises 58 death narratives from grieving mothers whose children died during the 12 months preceding the interview between 1979 and 1989; follow-up studies of 13 of those grieving mothers were conducted in 2011. Our sample closely resembles that of Scheper-Hughes, and from its stories we identify seven contexts—historical, political, economic, ecological, biological, social, and spiritual—that constrict how mothers grieve. Each context interrelates with the others, forming a cultural niche that regulates accepted emotionality, modes of suffering, roles of authority figures, and so on. We explore these contexts, offering alternatives to Scheper-Hughes’s theory, and conclude that a community-wide tendency to neglect never existed.

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