The Hidden Burden of Hypoglycemia in Neonatal Mortality in Tanzania - The Case of Saint Francis Hospital, Ifakara
The study was set out to Investigate the causes and factors leading to neonatal diseases and deaths at St Francis Designated District Hospital (SFDDH) as well as to assess the health system capacity, the quality of care and knowledge of health workers to deal with neonatal conditions, Identify socio-cultural barriers of neonatal and post natal mothers towards neonatal illnesses and assess health care received during their pregnancy & after delivery, and Document the final diagnosis, referrals to SFDDH and deaths among neonates for the year 2006/2007.
The methods used included an observational tool for monitoring medical records for mothers who were admitted in neonatal unit and all neonatal deaths and diseases for the year 2006/2007. Hospital files were reviewed using a respective checklist for neonatal illness and deaths.The study found out surprisingly that hypoglycaemia is among major causes of death in babies regardless of the illness.Hypoglycaemia was found to be the cause of death of neonates in 20% following Asphyxia (33%), prematurity (15%) and febrile and infectious conditions (pneumonia, malaria and sepsis) 27%, The major causes of neonatal illness according to SFDDH data were, led by birth asphyxia, fever and Prematurity followed by pneumonia and cough. The study found that many factors related to mothers were indirectly contributing to neonatal illnesses such as low level of education, inadequate visit to Ante Natal Clinic, delivering at home and early pregnancies. Many mothers know the common signs of neonatal illnesses and could send their children to hospital immediately after symptoms recognition. However a significant percentage of post natal mothers did not know the cause of neonatal illnesses while admitted or attending postnatal clinic .The capacity of health workers to deal
with neonatal illnesses was low since only few received neonatal management and neonatal resuscitation training, Besides these there are not enough health workers to deal with neonatal illnesses.
Keywords: Neonatal, Hypoglycemia, SFDDH, Illness