An estimated 15 million babies are born too soon every year. Preterm birth rates increase globally and affect rich countries as much as poor countries. USA, for example is one of the ten countries with the highest numbers of preterm births. The burden of preterm birth is substantial: According to a global rapport from the WHO, 1.1million babies die from preterm birth complications every year (Howson et al. 2012). However, the same WHO report suggests that over 75% of death of preterm birth can be prevented through feasible, cost-effective solutions including the Kangaroo Care method.
The Kangaroo Care (KC) method is proven to have significant positive effects on both survival, growth, development and long term development of preterm infants in addition to parent-child-bonding and stress reduction (Conde-Agudelo and Belizán 2011). It is provided through parents (or substitutes) and with the support of health workers undertaken in neonatal intensive care units. Skin-to-skin contact in chest-to-chest position on the parents´s breast is providing the infant with the warmth that the little body cannot yet hold or produce itself. In addition, the infant is experiencing continuous stimulation through the parent´s own gentile body activity like the sound of the heartbeat, lung activity motion or voice.
I felt this current topic was definitely worth spending my theses time and effort on. Even more, when I found out about the big gap between the high potential of the method and today’s actual implementation rate, as is shown in figure 2. What is the reason for bad acceptance and how can implementation be increased?
Design / Methodology
The main purpose of the thesis was to identify opportunities for scaling up Kangaroo Care (KC) method based on the five principles of service design defined by Stickdorn et al.(2010) I had chosen to apply design thinking methodology on 2 distinct settings, low resource settings and developed settings. The research question was explored through different workshops with experts and main user groups, covering various qualitative design tools as shown in the illustration of the design process in figure 3. The findings were analyzed on the background of the theoretical framework covering the research questions and the topic of value co-creation.