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Touch detection of neonatal hypothermia in Nepal
  1. M Ellis1,
  2. D Manandhar2,
  3. L Hunt1,
  4. S Barnett3,
  5. K Azad4
  1. 1Centre for Child and Adolescent Health, Bristol University, UK
  2. 2Maternal and Infant Research Activities, Kathmandu, Nepal
  3. 3International Perinatal Unit, UCL, London, UK
  4. 4Perinatal Care Project, DAB, Dhakka, Bangladesh
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Ellis
    Hampton house, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JS, UK; m.ellis{at}


The use of touch by health workers to detect hypothermia was examined in 250 newborns in Nepal. Palpation of the feet shows fair interobserver agreement (κ  =  0.4–0.7) and high sensitivity (>80%) but low specificity (36%–74%) compared with axillary thermometry. Traditional birth attendants should feel an infant’s feet to detect hypothermia.

  • hypothermia
  • community health services
  • developing countries
  • traditional birth attendant
  • temperature monitoring

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  • Competing interests: none declared

  • Since the data reported here were collected under her supervision, Sister Purna Shrestha has died. This paper is dedicated to her memory.