Mortality among paediatric inpatients in Mile 4 Mission hospital Abakaliki, south-eastern Nigeria: A retrospective study
Background: In the sub-Saharan Africa, one in every five children dies before their 5th birthday, mostly from preventable causes. Recent data from Nigeria, show infant and under-5 mortality rates of 88 and 143 deaths per 1000 live births respectively. Although significant efforts have
been made in the last two decades towards the reduction of childhood
mortality, the rate still remains unacceptably high.
Objective: The aim of the current study was to evaluate the pattern
and causes of paediatric (childhood) mortality at Mile 4 Mission Hospital, Abakaliki. This will help us to know exactly what happens in a small mission hospital with few facilities and limited skilled medical personnel. In addition, this is the very first time this study was undertaken in this
Materials and Methods: The records of admissions and deaths of
children managed at the Mile 4 Mission Hospital from the 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2009 were retrieved from the Medical Records Department for analysis.
Results: Of the 1110 patients admitted within this period, 72 died
giving an overall mortality of 6.5%. There were 43 males and 29
females, giving a male: female ratio of 1.5:1. Most of the deaths
58 (80.6%) occurred among children aged younger than 2 years.
Malaria was the most common presumed cause of death, followed
by gastroenteritis and bronchopneumonia. Twelve and half percent (12.5%) of the children died within 24 hours of admission. The commonest causes of death within 24 hours were severe anaemia, pneumonia and gastroenteritis. The modal months for childhood mortality in this hospital
were May and August.
Conclusion: Mortality was commonest among children younger than 2 years of age. Malaria, gastroenteritis and pneumonia were the commonest causes of death. A proactive planning taking into account the seasonal variation of these diseases could reduce the childhood mortality in this centre.