Neonatal deaths in Calabar, Nigeria

Author(s): Asindi AA, Ekanem AD

Abstract

Background: The morbidity and mortality pattern amongst neonates admitted into the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital were reviewed from 1st June 2003 to 30th November 2004.

Results: The major indications for admission for inborn babies were infections (27.4%), jaundice (21%) and low birth weight (LBW) (18.4%). The out born babies were admitted largely for sepsis (26.8%), jaundice (17.7%), tetanus (13.9%) and low birth weight (11.2%). Staphylococcus aureus (61.2%) and unclassified coliforms (21.9%) were the dominant isolates of septicaemia. The overall mortality rate of 19.3% was largely contributed by outborn infants (73.2% of the deaths). In descending order of magnitude, the total of 153 deaths during the period was due to infections (neonatal tetanus 20.9%, septicaemia 19.6%), birth asphyxia 23.3% and LBW 19%. Most of the deaths (70.6%) occurred within the first 7 days of life. Fifty-three (34.6%) of the deaths (most outborn infants) occurred within 24 hours of admission.

Conclusion: Nigerian government needs to improve funding of the health sector in order to reduce neonatal wastage. Training and retraining of traditional birth attendants is inevitable. More effort should be made towards improving coverage rate of tetanus toxoid among women of childbearing age.

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