Newborn Care in the Context of a Developing Country

In my first and second articles in this series, I mentioned that in Thailand, they have an expression that translates in English to “same same but different.” As is true with pregnancy and labor and delivery, so it is true of caring for the newborn, as well. There are unique aspects to newborn care in a low-resource setting and, while many elements of caring for a newborn baby in the six weeks following birth are universal, the midwife needs to be aware of how best practices can be different according to the setting. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has created global standards, competencies, and guidelines to ensure that midwives in all countries have effective education and skills (ICM 2018). When working in developing countries where newborn mortality is high in the neonatal period, the midwife should possess advanced skills and be humble about the high-risk population in which she may find herself. Business as usual will not be adequate or even ethical in these situations.
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About Author: Vicki Penwell

Vicki Penwell, CPM, is an international humanitarian aid worker, licensed midwife and midwife educator who has practiced since 1981, first in Alaska and then in Asia since 1990. Vicki and her extended family of four generations live and run a birth center in the Philippines, where they founded a nonprofit charitable organization called Mercy In Action, which trains midwives and establishes birth centers in poor countries. The Mercy In Action birth center in Olongapo, Philippines, is run by national midwives and funded by donations so that every delivery is free of charge to the woman and her family. Outcomes of more than 13,500 births have been excellent, using the International MotherBaby Childbirth Initiative (IMBCI) model of maternity care.

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