Newborn cord care practices in Haiti.
journal contributionposted on 04.05.2016, 00:00 by S Walsh, K Norr, G Sankar, H Sipsma
Newborn cord infections commonly lead to neonatal sepsis and death, particularly in low-resource countries where newborns may receive unhygienic cord care. Topical application of chlorhexidine to the newborn's cord has been shown to prevent infection. Such benefits may be particularly important in Haiti. We explored current cord care practices by conducting a qualitative study using five focus groups among key community stakeholders (mothers of newborns/children under age two years, pregnant women, traditional birth attendants, community health workers, traditional healers) in Petit-Goâve, Haiti. Data collection was guided by the Health Belief Model. Results suggest community stakeholders recognise that infants are susceptible to cord infection and that cord infection is a serious threat to newborns. Long-held traditional cord care practices are potential barriers to adopting a new cord care intervention. However, all groups acknowledged that traditional practices could be harmful to the newborn while expressing a willingness to adopt practices that would protect the newborn. Results demonstrate potential acceptability for altering traditional cord care practices among neonatal caretakers in Haiti. An informational campaign designed to educate local health workers and new mothers to eliminate unhygienic cord applications while promoting chlorhexidine application may be a strong approach for preventing neonatal cord infections.