Childhood mortality in children emergency centre of the Lagos University Teaching hospital

  • IB Fajolu
  • MTC Egri-Okwaji

Abstract

Background: Infant and childhood mortality has remained high in developing countries like Nigeria with only marginal reductions achieved over the past two decades despite several interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality from the common causes of death in children. It is
therefore important to examine the current pattern of mortality in
children and compare it with previous reports from this centre so as to determine if newer interventions are needed or if these current interventions need to be strengthened for more effective reduction in childhood mortality. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the pattern of childhood mortality in the children emergency centre of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). Materials and Methods: Admission and discharge records from October 2007 to November 2008 were reviewed retrospectively, the age, sex, diagnosis and duration of hospital stay before death were analyzed. Results: Four hundred and forty six children (446) out of the 4031 children admitted during the study
Period died, giving a mortality of 11.1%. More than half of the deaths
(55.4%) occurred within 24hours of arrival in hospital. Neonates accounted for 54.7% of deaths. The common causes of death in the neonates were perinatal asphyxia (36.1%) , neonatal jaundice (21.3%), prematurity (16.3%) and septicaemia (11.5%), while in the older children anaemia , septicaemia, severe malaria and acute respiratory illnesses were the
commonest conditions accounting for 22.6%, 16.3%, 12.1% and 9.9%
of deaths respectively. Conclusion: Childhood mortality in LUTH is still high with majority of deaths occurring in infancy especially in the neonatal period. Efforts to prevent perinatal asphyxia, the most common cause
of death in the neonatal period, should be intensified and education
on the prevention , early identification and management of
conditions such as neonatal jaundice, malaria, anaemia and acute respiratory illnesses should also be strengthened.
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