Lessons from a behavior change intervention to improve provider-parent partnerships and care for hospitalized newborns and young children in Kenya

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Enhancing respectful, responsive, integrative, and nurturing care for hospitalized newborns and young children (aged 0–24 months) is globally recognized but under-researched in low- and middle-income countries. Responsive, family-centered interventions target providers and parents and emphasize partnership in caring roles. From February 2020 to August 2021, we engaged in a participatory co-creation process with parents, providers, and newborn and child health stakeholders in Kenya to develop a comprehensive provider behavior change intervention and implemented it across 5 hospitals in Nairobi and Bungoma counties in Kenya. The multifaceted intervention included a 7-module orientation, feedback meetings, job aids, and psychosocial support—leveraging in-person and remote modalities—for providers working in newborn and pediatric units. We used a mixed-methods evaluation drawing on a pre-post provider survey, pre-post qualitative interviews with providers and parents, and a follow-up parental survey. There were significant post-intervention improvements in provider knowledge on safeguarding sleep, positioning and handling, and protecting skin. However, there were also significant reductions in providers’ knowledge in identifying a child’s pain, parental stress, and environmental stress. Among parents who received coaching from providers, there were higher levels of interpersonal communication between parent and provider, parental empowerment, and improved ability to provide integrated, responsive care to their child. Despite the challenges of implementing a provider-focused intervention to improve care for hospitalized newborns and young children during the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have demonstrated that it is feasible to implement a hybrid virtual and in-person process to influence several outcomes, including provider knowledge and practice, improved provider partnerships with parents, and parents’ capacity to engage in the care of their newborn or young child.






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