PLoS ONE: Influence of newborn health messages on umbilical care (3)

6 January, 2019

Dear Chris,

In response to my sentence: "It would be useful to understand more about this issue and ways in which the harms of traditional practice can be minimised" you asked: "You left out the word "this" didn't you? "...ways in which the harms of [THIS] traditional practice can be minimised." Or do you mean the harms of all traditional practice?"

Thanks for your comment. I see where you are coming from, but I meant the sentence as originally worded. There are multiple harms of traditional practice across all areas of health (just as there are multiple harms of modern care across all areas of health). Our challenge is to minimise such harms where possible.

Also, there are a number of traditional practices (not just one) that apply specifically to the care of the umbilical cord, some of which have the potential to cause harm to the newborn. It would be useful to understand more about these harmful practices and how they can mitigated. Such understanding in one area of health care (such as care of the umbilical cord) has the potential to benefit understanding in other areas. As the authors of this study conclude: "Community-based approaches, such as using community-based cadres of health workers to strengthen referrals, are an acceptable and potentially effective strategy to improve care-seeking behaviors and practices."

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA-Zambia profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of HIFA-Zambia and the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ). Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org