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Background: Newborn morbidity and mortality have remained unacceptably high in developing countries despite consistent efforts at controlling the scourge. Unlike in developed countries where neonatal mortality rate ranges between 1 and 5 per 1000 live births, average neonatal mortality rate in Nigeria is 36 per 1000 live births. The majority of the causes of death are largely preventable with timely low cost interventions. This study was structured to determine the pattern of morbidity and mortality amongst babies admitted in the Special Care Baby Unit of Madonna hospital Makurdi, Nigeria.
Methods: The records of neonates admitted into the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) over a tenyear period (2005-2015) were retrospectively reviewed. Information obtained included the sex, age at admission, gestational age, birth weight, reasons for admission and outcome of treatment.
Results: A total of 1,121 babies were admitted during the period under review. The male female ratio was 1.2:1.The majority of the babies were aged between 2-7 days with a mean 6.17.+ 7.01 The mean weight on admission was 2807+907g. Neonatal sepsis, jaundice, low birth weight and birth
asphyxia were the most common morbidities. The overall mortalityrate was 14.1%; however, proportionate mortality due to low birth weight was highest (26.4%), followed by tetanus (23.5%), asphyxia (20.8%), Respiratory tract infection (13.8%), meningitis (13.3%), sepsis (10.3%), jaundice (9.6%), and diarhoea (4.0%)
Conclusion: Neonatal mortality rate in the study was high. The major causes of admission are preventable. Strengthening perinatal care, emergency obstetric care services and neonatal resuscitation skills are necessary to reduce the neonatal mortality.
Key words: Neonate, Morbidity, Mortality, Nigeria