Objective: To evaluate COVID-19 pandemic preparedness, available resources, and guidelines for neonatal care delivery among neonatal health care providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) across all continents.
Study design: Cross-sectional, web-based survey administered between May and June, 2020.
Results: Of 189 invited participants in 69 LMICs, we received 145 (77%) responses from 58 (84%) countries. The pandemic provides significant challenges to neonatal care, particularly in low-income countries. Respondents noted exacerbations of preexisting shortages in staffing, equipment, and isolation capabilities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 9/35 (26%) respondents noted increased mortality in non-COVID-19-infected infants. Clinical practices on cord clamping, isolation, and breastfeeding varied widely, often not in line with World Health Organization guidelines. Most respondents noted family access restrictions, and limited shared decision-making.
Conclusions: Many LMICs face an exacerbation of preexisting resource challenges for neonatal care during the pandemic. Variable approaches to care delivery and deviations from guidelines provide opportunities for international collaborative improvement.