Mary’s triplets were born three months early, in Papua New Guinea with no incubator to protect them from hypothermia. Health workers taught Mary this very simple technique that helped her babies to not only survive but thrive.

“I was bending down and trying to break recycled cans to sell them, and I started feeling contractions,” says Mary.

Sadly, she lost her second triplet. With no access to an incubator to keep her babies warm, the health workers told Mary to practice Kangaroo Care. 

Skin-to-skin contact or Kangaroo Care with either the mother or father helps normalise the baby’s temperature, preventing some of the leading causes of death in premature infants, including hypothermia, infections, sepsis and breathing problems. Being such a life-saving item for a newborn baby, it is part of this year’s Mother’s Day Gift Pack

Lucy, 28, is using her Kangaroo Mother Care wrap. “At first I was worried and I thought my baby wouldn’t survive but now I’m very happy looking at my baby with the improving and increasing weight every day - from 1.5 to 3kgs [...] I was told that if I continue with this routine, the baby will live,” says Lucy. After the success of our Kangaroo Care and child survival programs in places like Uganda UNICEF is now launching a new child survival program in Vanuatu and expanding our program in Zimbabwe so we can save more newborns. © UNICEF/UNI313204/Abdul

Kangaroo contact is a method developed in Colombia to help premature babies survive when incubators are not available or in short supply. Kangaroo Mother Care is an evidence-based intervention with demonstrated high impact on survival, brain development and quality of care. It has been shown to reduce mortality by up to 50 per cent in low birth weight newborns weighing less than 2000 grams when compared with conventional care.

This simple method also regulates heart rate, breathing and improves sleep patterns of infants, helps to promote frequent breastfeeding and start a long-lasting relationship between mother and baby.

The technique also increases the baby's growth, improves oxygen concentration and brain development. It empowers families to care for their small newborns and shortens their length of stay in hospital.
Give a Save-A-Newborn Kit

UNICEF is working in health centres around the world to provide this simple alternative to incubators, having already procured 2,189 Kangaroo Care Kits for health centres in Papua New Guinea. 

“After doing the Kangaroo Care with my two babies I am seeing a difference,” Mary says. “They are quiet on my chest and not irritable, they are gaining weight and they are getting stronger compared to how they were before.”

Due to the success of the program in Papua New Guinea, UNICEF Australia is supporting the launch of this program in Vanuatu. In Vanuatu, more than 11 babies out of 1,000 die in their first month of life. These vital supplies will give newborns in the region the best chance to survive and thrive. 

Babies being kept warm with a skin-to-skin technique known as Kangaroo Care at a UNICEF-supported hospital in Maradi, in the center of Niger. © UNICEF/UN0317845/Frank Dejongh
Give a newborn the best chance of survival

For Mother’s Day this year, instead of the delivery of flowers or choccies, give something that will save lives. Our Save-A-Newborn Kit contains a Kangaroo Care pack, four newborn scales, two thermometers and a timer for respiratory infection.


Here’s how it works

  1. Purchase a UNICEF Inspired Gift. From bars of soap for hygiene and health, to our Save-A-Newborn Kit, we have something to bring a smile to your mother's face this year, even if you can't be together. 
  2. A personalised card will be sent to your loved one telling them about the life-saving impact they're having on children.
  3. Real supplies will be sent to where they're most needed to help children and newborns survive and thrive.

It can be a scary experience to be an expecting mother in many developing countries. 
Now more so than ever.

By purchasing a Mother’s Day Inspired Gift, you and your mum will be helping save the lives of newborn babies – truly a gift that will last a lifetime.

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