Stillbirths and early neonatal mortality in rural Northern Ghana
Objective To calculate perinatal mortality (stillbirth and early neonatal death: END) rates in the Upper East region of Ghana and characterize community‐based stillbirths and END in terms of timing, cause of death, and maternal and infant risk factors.
Methods Birth outcomes were obtained from the Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance System over a 7‐year period.
Results Twenty thousand four hundred and ninty seven pregnant women were registered in the study. The perinatal mortality rate was 39 deaths/1000 deliveries, stillbirth rate 23/1000 deliveries and END rates 16/1000 live births. Most stillbirths were 31 weeks gestation or less. Prematurity, first‐time delivery and multiple gestation all significantly increased the odds of perinatal death. Approximately 70% of END occurred during the first 3 postnatal days, and the most common causes of death were birth asphyxia and injury, infections and prematurity.
Conclusion Stillbirths and END remain a significant problem in Navrongo. The main causes of END occur during the first 3 days and may be modifiable with simple targeted perinatal policies.
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