Kangaroo Care—It’s What Kept Baby Edgar Alive

Restiani, of the village of Kragilan, Indonesia, was 28 weeks pregnant when she went into labor. Her husband, Martudilah, drove her by motorbike to their public hospital 30 minutes away. There, she gave birth to a premature, underweight son, Edgar.

The baby was rushed to intensive care after birth and stabilized. Hospital midwives showed Restiani how to hold Edgar through skin-to-skin contact to transfer body warmth. This lifesaving intervention—called kangaroo care—increases a baby’s weight, prevents hypothermia and creates a bond between the mother and her newborn. Every day, Restiani swaddled Edgar against her chest. In only two weeks, he had gained a little over one pound. Today, they’re both safe and healthy.

Throughout Restiani’s native Indonesia, complications at birth threaten the lives of women and their babies. But with skilled midwives and simple, effective interventions like kangaroo care, these deaths can be prevented. Thanks to a Jhpiego-led maternal and neonatal program, midwives are receiving the skills and support they need to keep moms and babies alive and thriving.

From village center to hospital, Jhpiego is working to ensure midwives know how to properly treat a life-threatening blood pressure disorder in pregnancy, manage severe bleeding after birth and handle other complications.

Dr. Dyah Retnani Basuki, a public health physician working alongside Jhpiego, has seen a marked improvement in the midwives’ skills and attitudes. “They wanted to be better, they wanted to change,” he said.

Restiani, Martudilah and baby Edgar and other Indonesian families are looking ahead to a brighter, healthier future thanks to Jhpiego.