Stillbirths at the West Gonja hospital in northern Ghana
In most parts of Ghana, stillbirths (SBs) do not count in routine mortality data collection and there-fore are not seen as a major public health problem. The aim of this study was to determine still-birth rate, trend, causes and factors associated with stillbirth at the West Gonja Hospital in northern Ghana and offer recommendations. This study reviewed antenatal cards of mothers and records in the labour and maternity wards for cases of SBs from January 2009 to December 2013 for foetal and maternal characteristics. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS software (version 18, Chicago). There were 3,641 births and 121 SBs during the study period with an average SBs rate of 33.2 per 1000 births. There was a gradual rise in the annual incidence of SBs from 2.9% in 2009 to 3.9% in 2012. Majority (55.4%) of the SBs were fresh. A total of 58 (47. 9%) of the SBs had no identifiable cause. The mean gestational age of SBs was 34.8 weeks (SD=4.2), and the mean weight was 2.4 Kg (SD=0.8). Majority (73.9%) of the mothers were housewives. We found strong positive associations between SBs and maternal occupation (p<0.00), but negatives associations with maturity of pregnancy (p= 0.01), mode of delivery (p<0.00), type of pregnancy (p=0.04) and the causes of stillbirths (p<0.00). This study found a high SBs rate of 33.2 per 1000 births, with a gradual rise in the incidence over the study period. Many of the SBs had no identifiable cause. Most of the mothers who had stillbirths were house wives and many of the cases had no identifiable causes. There is the need for improve SBs data collection and the need for further investigations on the causes of stillbirth in Ghana.
Journal of Medical and Biomedical Sciences (2016) 5(1), 1-7
Keywords: Mortality data, causes, incidence rate, parity, gestational week