Kalafong wraps









Kim and Julia have been busy in London (and Alison in Amersham) making these baby slings for mothers of preterm babies in Liberia.  They will be used on the training courses in November and then left in country for use on the neonatal unit.  Skin to skin mother care develops the bond between mother and baby as well as helping to prevent infection and keeping the baby warm.  You can read more about the advantages of skin to skin care at https://www.nicheinternational.org.uk/2018/11/13/skin-to-skin-mother-and-father-care/.

We call them kalafongs on the Newborn Care Course but they are not actually called kalafong wraps – even in Kalafong hospital in South Africa which is where the pattern for these (very cheap and easy to make) skin to skin wraps is from, see https://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/Legacy/sitefiles/file/45/1335/877/thariinstructionsnewkmcwrappatternmay2011.pdf.

Friends of NICHE

We are fortunate that NICHE has friends who support us in various ways.

This is Gloria, approaching her 10th decade, and an inveterate knitter!

One of WHO’s main recommendations for newborn care is prevention of hypothermia.  Newborn babies quickly lose heat through their heads; drying and covering the head with a hat immediately after birth is a simple but vital step.  This is equally important in hot and cold countries.

When NICHE instructors train midwives and other birth attendants in a low resource country, we leave equipment for them to use.  This includes a supply of hats for babies, as mothers do not always have their own baby clothes.

Gloria has bought wool, and knitted hundreds of baby hats for us, including tiny ones for premature infants.  She says that this is her contribution to our work: it is a valuable one, for which we – and about 200 babies in west Africa so far – are very grateful.

Outcome measures

The ultimate outcome measurement for the Newborn Care Course project would of course be a reduction in neonatal mortality in the areas where we work.  There are so many confounding factors in any clean data that is actually collected that it is almost impossible to prove that one intervention like this has any statistically significant effect on neonatal mortality.  But our funders always ask for outcome measures.  This year in Cameroon we changed the feedback form a bit, bringing it more into line with the template suggested by the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.  This has allowed us to measure pre- and post- course confidence in the main areas identified by WHO as contributing to newborn deaths.  Here are the results from last month’s course:


The challenge now, of course, is to keep that confidence up going forwards.