When, Where, and Why Are Babies Dying? Neonatal Death Surveillance and Review in Bangladesh

Citation: Halim A, Dewez JE, Biswas A, Rahman F, White S, van den Broek N (2016) When, Where, and Why Are Babies Dying? Neonatal Death Surveillance and Review in Bangladesh. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0159388. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0159388
Published: August 1, 2016

Abstract
Background: Better data on cause of, and factors contributing to, neonatal deaths are needed to improve interventions aimed at reducing neonatal mortality in low- and middle-income countries.
Methods: Community surveillance to identify all neonatal deaths across four districts in Bangladesh. Verbal autopsy for every fifth case and InterVA-4 used to assign likely cause of death.
Findings: 6748 neonatal deaths identified, giving a neonatal mortality rate of 24.4 per 1000 live births. Of these, 51.3% occurred in the community and 48.7% at or on the way to a health facility. Almost half (46.1%) occurred within 24 hours of birth with 83.6% of all deaths occurring in the first seven days of life. Birth asphyxia was the leading cause of death (43%), followed by infections (29.3%), and prematurity (22.2%). In 68.3% of cases, care had been provided at a health facility before death occurred. Care-seeking was significantly higher among mothers who were educated (RR 1.18, 95% CI: 1.04–1.35) or who delivered at a health facility (RR 1.48, 95% CI 1.37–1.60) and lower among mothers who had 2–4 previous births (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.82–0.96), for baby girls (RR 0.87, 95% CI 0.80–0.93), and for low birth weight babies (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.82–0.96).
Interpretation: Most parents of neonates who died had accessed and received care from a qualified healthcare provider. To further reduce neonatal mortality, it is important that the quality of care provided, particularly skilled birth attendance, emergency obstetric care, and neonatal care during the first month of life is improved, such that it is timely, safe, and effective.

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