Health Care Providers’ Knowledge, Practice and Barriers to Newborn and Mother Skin-to-Skin Contact in Gaza Strip, Palestine

Yasmin Ismail Abed Alqader Alhabil
ياسمين إسماعيل عبد القادر الهبيل
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Al-Quds University
Mother-infant skin-to-skin contact (SSC) is placing infant directly on mothers' chest or abdomen immediately after delivery early and should be continuous at least 60 minutes. (SSC) have many benefits for mother and newborn due to stabilization of newborns' temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood glucose level, as well as decrease postpartum hemorrhage and increase oxytocin level for mother. SSC started in Gaza strip since 2017 but faced many challenges and barriers. This study aimed to identify health care providers' (HCP) knowledge, practice and barriers to newborn and mother skin-to-skin contact. The study used descriptive, analytical and cross-sectional design and targeted the health care providers who work at four governmental maternity hospital (Shifa, Tahreer, Aqsa and Emarati). The sample consisted of 267 HCPs (midwives who work in labor rooms were 62, obstetricians 153 and pediatricians 52). The study used self-constructed and administered questionnaire that content validity was done by 7 experts and the reliability of the tool was high as Cronbach alpha was 0.84. Data Analysis was performed using SPSS version 25. The result showed that 35.2% study participants were from Al-Shifa hospital, 28.5% were from Al-Threer, 18,4% were from Al-Aqsa hospital, and 18% were from Al-Emaratee hospital, also 23.2% were midwives, 57.3% were obstetricians, and 19.5% were pediatricians, in addition to 45.3% have an experience less than five years, 14.2% have an experience of 15 years and more. HCPs had very good knowledge about SSC with mean percent 82%, and good practice with mean percent 72%, while 86.1% had training on Early Essential Newborn Care (EENC) and SSC. Midwives had the best practice among HCPs with mean 3.197, also training and work place recorded statically significant relationship with knowledge and practice Main barriers respectively were lack of mothers' awareness, lack of social support and motivation and lack of privacy. According to the result of this study HCPs were not committed to non-urgent separation policy of newborns and thus they need more training on this policy. The study recommended to increase mothers' awareness about the importance of SSC through antenatal visits, maintain privacy, and to decrease the barriers of SSC at the maternity hospitals.