Cord Care

Outcome indicator, Output indicator

Indicator Phrasing

% of children 0-12 months with nothing (harmful) applied to cord
% d'enfants de 0 à 12 mois dont le cordon n’a été touché par rien (de nuisible)
% dětí ve věku 0-12 měsíců, kterým po porodu nebylo přiloženo na pupík nic škodlivého

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of children 0-12 months with nothing (harmful) applied to cord

French: % d'enfants de 0 à 12 mois dont le cordon n’a été touché par rien (de nuisible)

Czech: % dětí ve věku 0-12 měsíců, kterým po porodu nebylo přiloženo na pupík nic škodlivého

What is its purpose?

The indicator assesses whether newborns had nothing harmful applied to their umbilical cords after cutting and tying – essential to prevent cord infections.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of mothers of children aged 0-11.99 months:



Q1: After your last delivery, was anything applied to the cord after it was cut and tied?

A1: yes / no / does not remember


(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES)


Q2: What was applied to the cord?


1) any type of oil

2) herbal paste

3) clarified butter

4) cow dung

5) ash

6) antiseptic

7) other – specify: …………………………...


Notes: Adjust the answers to the local context. Chlorhexidine (an antiseptic) counts as a correct response along with not putting anything on the cord. However, if there is an explicit policy in the particular country that nothing (not even antiseptic) should be applied to the cord then antiseptic should not be included.


Calculate the indicator’s value by dividing the number of children who had nothing applied to the cord by the total number of respondents (exclude those who did not remember) and multiplying the result by 100.

Important Comments

1) Since mothers might not remember exactly the information your survey is asking about, consider conducting as many interviews as possible in pairs consisting of the mother and a birth attendant/ relative who attended the delivery/ who took care of the mother. While using such an approach will take you more time, it will very likely result in more accurate data. If none of the listed options are likely to provide accurate data, consider changing the indicator to “% of traditional birth attendants applying nothing (harmful) to cord” and collecting the required data from the target birth attendants.


2) The most common recommendation is interviewing mothers of children aged 0-23 months. However, this assumes that the mothers will remember for up to two years the information your survey is asking about. Since this is not very likely, IndiKit recommends using for this indicator a shorter recall period by interviewing mothers of children aged 0-12 months. Use it only if the data is supposed to be used purely for the purpose of your intervention (i.e. making programming decisions, measuring its results, etc.) and does not need to be comparable with the statistics of other stakeholders which use longer recall period. 


3) This indicator relies on accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the data collectors should never rely only on the information provided by caregivers and always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate or other documents; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents, it is essential that your data collectors are able to determine the child’s age by using local events calendars. Read FAO’s Guidelines (see below) to learn how to prepare local events calendars and how to train data collectors in their correct use.


4) Disaggregate the data by the place of delivery (at home, in a health centre, in a hospital), presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery (present/ absent; use for home deliveries only), socio-economic characteristics (level of education, wealth quintile) and location (rural/ urban).4

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