Over 71 percent neonatal deaths in born, 25 percent out-born: Study

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‘Weight of over 67 percent babies who die remains below 2.5 kg’

Srinagar, Jun 04: A survey on causes and pattern of neonatal mortality in tertiary care neonatal unit of GMC Jammu has revealed that over 70 percent deaths at this stage were found inborn besides 25 percent out-born and rest in home-deliveries.

The survey was conducted by Department of Paediatrics, Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir to find the pattern and causes of neonatal mortality.

“Neonatal mortality continues to be a major contributor to infant mortality in developing countries. The daily risk of a mortality in neonatal period is 30 times higher than that from 1 month to 5 years of age,” reads the survey, as per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

The survey states: “Current neonatal mortality rate (NMR) of India is 21.6 per 1000 live births. (2020). Given the infant and under-five child mortality rates of 28.26 (2020) and 34.27 (2020) per 1000 live births, respectively,70% of total infant deaths and more than 50% of under-five deaths fall in neonatal period. Although NMR has declined from 29.6 per 1000 live births in 2010 to 25.8 per 1000 live births in 2015 with the introduction of the National Rural Health Mission in mid-2005 but the rate of decline is so slow that India missed the target to achieve the fourth Millennium Development: Goal (MDG-4), which aimed to reduce IMR by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.” Infant mortality rate is the best indicator of maternal and child health services in general.”

“Median age at admission was 2h (range 0.17 to 624) and median hospital stay was 15 days (IQR 1 to 5 days) with range 0.2 to 47 days. A total of 101 deaths occurred over a period of 2 months. Seventy-one percent (71.29%) deaths were inborn, whereas 24.75% and 3.96% were out-born and home-delivered, respectively,” it states.

“Sixty-seven (67.32%) deaths were of less than 2.5kg weight among which 36.63% were less than 1.5kg weight Median weight was 2kg with SD of 0.8kg. Fifty-seven (57%) of deaths occurred 48 h after birth,” the survey states.

The median maternal age at first childbirth in India is 19.9 years; -30% of girls give birth before the age of 20 and account for 21% of all deliveries, the survey says.

“It is estimated that the risks of neonatal mortality and low birth weight (LBW) are increased by almost 50% if maternal age at childbirth is 20 years. It is also estimated that shifting age at childbirth to above 20 years would reduce overall NMR by 9.4%,” it states. “Evidence shows that improving maternal education is the most effective and proven strategy to improve neonatal survival, as it improves preventive behaviours and increases the utilization of maternal and neonatal health-care services. Kerala’s achievement of stabilizing population growth and low levels of infant and neonatal mortality is partly attributed to its high female education levels.”

It is pertinent to mention here that it was a record-based observational study of all the neonatal deaths in the neonatal unit over a period of two months from November 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019 in which details of each neonatal death was analysed—(KNO)