Market mechanisms for newborn health in Nepal
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CitationLunze, Karsten, Rosie Dawkins, Abeezer Tapia, Sidharth Anand, Michael Chu, and David E. Bloom. 2017. “Market mechanisms for newborn health in Nepal.” BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 17 (1): 428. doi:10.1186/s12884-017-1599-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-017-1599-7.
AbstractBackground: In Nepal, hypothermia is a major risk factor for newborn survival, but the country’s public health care sector has insufficient capacity to improve newborn survival given the burden imposed by distance to health facilities and cost. Low-cost technology to provide newborn thermal care in resource-limited environments exists, but lacks effective distribution channels. This study aims to develop a private sector distribution model for dedicated newborn thermal care technology to ensure equitable access to thermal protection and ultimately improve newborn health in Nepal. Methods: We conducted a document analysis of newborn health policy in Nepal and a scoping literature review of approaches to newborn hypothermia in the region, followed by qualitative interviews with key stakeholders of newborn health in Nepal. Results: Current solutions addressing newborn hypothermia range from high-technology, high-cost incubators to low-cost behavioral interventions such as skin-to-skin care. However, none of these interventions are currently implemented at scale. A distribution model that provides incentives for community health volunteers and existing public health services in Nepal can deliver existing low-cost infant warmers to disadvantaged mothers where and when needed. Newborn technology can serve as an adjunct to skin-to-skin care and potentially create demand for newborn care practices. Conclusion: Harnessing market forces could promote public health by raising awareness of newborn challenges, such as newborn hypothermia, and triggering demand for appropriate health technology and related health promotion behaviors. Market approaches to promoting public health have been somewhat neglected, especially in economically disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, and deserve greater attention in Nepal and other settings with limited public health service delivery capacity.
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