Neonatal home care practices in rural Egypt during the first week of life

Gary L. Darmstadt, Mohamed Hassan Hussein, Peter J. Winch, Rachel A. Haws, Mohsen Lamia, Mohsen A. El-Said, Reginald F. Gipson, Mathuram Santosham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide information about home care practices for newborns in rural Egypt, in order to improve neonatal home care through preventive measures and prompt recognition of danger signs. Method: Survey of newborn home care practices during the first week of life in 217 households in three rural Egyptian Governorates. Results: Many practices met common neonatal care standards, particularly prompt initial breastfeeding, feeding of colostrum and continued breastfeeding, and most bathing practices. However, several practices could be modified to improve neonatal care and survival. Supplemental substances were given to 44% of newborns as pre-lacteal feeds, and to more than half during the first week. Nearly half (43%) of mothers reported that they did not wash their hands before neonatal care, and only 7% washed hands after diaper changes. Thermal control was not practiced, although mothers perceived 22% of newborns to be hypothermic. Conclusions: The practices we observed, which are critical for newborn survival, could be improved with minor modifications. We provide a framework for communicating behaviour change and setting research priorities for improving neonatal health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-797
Number of pages15
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Breastfeeding
  • Danger signs
  • Handwashing
  • Infection
  • Newborn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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