“Like works of our hands are giving testimony!” A qualitative study on kangaroo mother care and health worker empowerment in southern Malawi

Mai-Lei Woo Kinshella, Sangwani Salimu, Kelly Pickerill, Marianne Vidler, Mwai Banda, Laura Newberry, Queen Dube, Elizabeth M. Molyneux, David M. Goldfarb, Kondwani Kawaza, Alinane Linda Nyondo-Mipando


The purpose of this paper is to explore health worker perspectives of empowerment associated with kangaroo mother care in southern Malawi. We conducted a secondary analysis of 27 in-depth interviews collected between May-Aug 2019 at a large Malawian tertiary hospital and three rural referral hospitals. Data was analyzed using a thematic approach with NVivo 12 software (QSR International, Melbourne, Australia). Health workers reported positive perceptions of kangaroo mother care because it helped save the lives of preterm and low birthweight infants who previously did not frequently survive. This gave them hope due to increased capacity to care for low birthweight infants and subsequently increased job satisfaction. Experiences of success supported workplace morale and strengthened commitment to their clinical roles. This study suggests that kangaroo mother care may support health worker empowerment and resilience in their work. (Afr J Reprod Health 2021; 25[3s]: 65-73).

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