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Family Integrated Care in Uganda: a feasibility study
  1. Jessica Duby1,
  2. Olive Kabajaasi2,
  3. Judith Muteteri2,
  4. Efulansi Kisooka2,
  5. Delaney Barth3,
  6. Nancy Feeley4,
  7. Karel O'Brien5,
  8. Kenya-Mugisha Nathan2,
  9. Abner Tagoola6,
  10. Matthew O Wiens2,7
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  2. 2 Walimu, Kampala, Uganda
  3. 3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, McGill University Montreal, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  4. 4 Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada
  5. 5 Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  6. 6 Department of Pediatrics, Jinja Regional Referral Hospital, Jinja, Uganda
  7. 7 Center for International Child Health, BC Children’s Hospital, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jessica Duby, Department of Pediatrics, McGill University Faculty of Medicine, Montreal, Quebec H4A 3J1, Canada; jessica.duby{at}


Objective To determine the feasibility of adapting Family Integrated Care to a neonatal hospital unit in a low-income country.

Design Single-centre, pre/post-pilot study of an adapted Family Integrated Care programme in Uganda (UFICare).

Setting Special Care Nursery at a Ugandan hospital.

Patients Singleton, inborn neonates with birth weight ≥2 kg.

Interventions As part of UFICare, mothers weighed their infant daily, assessed for severe illness (‘danger signs’) twice daily and tracked feeds.

Main outcome measures Feasibility outcomes included maternal proficiency and completion of monitoring tasks. Secondary outcomes included maternal stress, discharge readiness and post-discharge healthcare seeking.

Results Fifty-three mother–infant dyads and 51 mother–infant dyads were included in the baseline and intervention groups, respectively. Most mothers were proficient in the tasks 2–4 days after training (weigh 43 of 51; assess danger signs 49 of 51; track feeds 49 of 51). Mothers documented their danger sign assessments 82% (IQR 71–100) of the expected times and documented feeds 83% (IQR 71–100) of hospital days. In the baseline group, nurses weighed babies 29% (IQR 18–50) of hospitalised days, while UFICare mothers weighed their babies 71% (IQR 57–80) of hospitalised days (p<0.001). UFICare mothers had higher Readiness for Discharge scores compared with the baseline group (baseline 6.8; UFICare 7.9; p<0.001). There was no difference in maternal stress scores or post-discharge healthcare seeking.

Conclusions Ugandan mothers can collaborate in the medical care of their hospitalised infant. By performing tasks identified as important for infant care, mothers felt more prepared to care for their infant at discharge.

  • neonatology
  • health services research

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • Contributors All authors approved the final manuscript as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work. JD, NF, KO'B, K-MN, AT and MOW were involved in the study’s design, interpreting the data and writing of the paper. OK, JM and EK were involved in acquisition of data and writing of the paper. DB was involved in data analysis and writing of the paper. JD is guarantor.

  • Funding This work was supported by McGill University through the 2019 Steinberg Fund for Interdisciplinary Global Health Research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.