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Case Study:

Formative Research Strengthens Newborn Care in Asia-Pacific

Flinch supported formative research as part of efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) to increase rates of skin-to-skin contact between newborns and mothers across the Asia Pacific region.

This work is contributing to the prevention of 50,000 unnecessary deaths every year across the region. 

In the Asia Pacific Region a newborn baby dies every two minutes.  The WHO developed the "First Embrace" initiative in an effort to increase the immediate skin-to-skin contact needed to help reduce infection rates and to increase the uptake of other beneficial practices such as the initiation of breastfeeding.

Formative research was undertaken with healthcare workers in the Philippines and Lao PDR, including those who were already implementing immediate skin-to-skin contact. Out of the 109 people interviewed only two mentioned the risks of newborns picking up bacteria from their environment.


This research found that most healthcare workers were more likely to be motivated to initiate skin-to-skin contact because of the desire to keep the baby warm rather than the need to protect the baby from infection. This key insight has been used to inform subsequent training, education and social marketing efforts to increase immediate initiation of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns.

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