Contribution of low Birth –Weight and Very Low Birth Weight Infants to Perinatal Mortality at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu – Nigeria

  • G.N. Adimora Department of Paediatrics College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus

Abstract

Objective: To determine the association between low and very low birth weight infants and perinatal mortality at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.
Methods: A retrospective study of the hospital records in the labour ward and the Newborn Special Care Unit (N.B.S.C.U), of the UNTH was carried out for the years 1992 1997. The babies enlisted in the study were those that weighed under 2.5kg, subdivided into the low birth weight (LBW) infants, weighing 1.5-2. 49kg; and very low birth weight (VLBW) infants, weighing 0.5- 1.499kg. The birth weights among these age groups were then compared with the general figures for all the births. Figures obtained were analysed by simple statistical methods.
Results: A total of 6376 babies were delivered in the UNTH during the period under study. Out of this number 784 (12.296%), weighed below 2.5kg. Of this number 283 were VLBW and 501 LBW. The perinatal mortality rate (PMR), for the LBW ranged from 294.8 per 1000 to 397 per 1000, the highest mortality rate being recorded for the year 1995. The annual PMR for the VLBW ranged between 516.6 per 1000 to 878.7 per 1000, the highest mortality rate being recorded for the year 1997. Although the 784 total number obtained for the LBW and VLBW babies was only 12.29% of the total births in the hospital, the mortality rate among this age group is very high especially in the VLBW infants (717.3/1000)
Conclusion: The contribution of LBW and VLBW babies to the PMR in UNTH is high. When considered separately, the PMR among them is extremely high. Delivery, monitoring and treatment procedures of pre-term infants need to be improved.
Key Words: Birth Weight, Perinatal Mortality, UNTH.

[Jnl College of Medicine Vol.7(2) 2002: 124-127]
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