Author(s): Dragovich D, Tamburlini G, Alisjahbana A, Kambarami R, Karagulova J,
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Abstract Hypothermia is a common problem in neonates, particularly in developing countries where it is an important contributory factor to neonatal mortality and morbidity. An evaluation of the knowledge and practices of health professionals on the thermal control of newborns was carried out in seven countries: Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mozambique, Nepal and Zimbabwe. The evaluation, conceived as a preliminary phase for a one-day training course on thermal control, involved 28 health facilities and 260 health professionals (61 doctors and 199 nurses and midwives). It included an assessment of thermal control practices carried out in each health facility by external investigators and a questionnaire on knowledge about thermoregulation administered to health professionals involved in newborn care. The findings of the evaluation were consistent across countries and showed that thermal control practices were frequently inadequate in the following areas: ensuring a warm environment at the time of delivery; initiation of breastfeeding and contact with mother, bathing; checking the baby's temperature; thermal protection of low birth weight babies, and care during transport. Knowledge on thermal control was also insufficient, especially concerning the physiology of thermoregulation and criteria for defining hypothermia. During the one-day course that followed the evaluation, participants were able to recognize the existing gaps and to identify appropriate interventions. Knowledge and practice on the thermal control of the newborn are currently insufficient. However, awareness of the importance of thermal control and basic knowledge on thermal regulation and thermal protection can be easily acquired and on this basis motivation for improving thermal control practices can be developed.
This article was published in Acta Paediatr
and referenced in General Medicine: Open Access