Pan African Medical Journal

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Factors associated with low birth weight among neonates born at Olkalou District Hospital, Central Region, Kenya

OM Muchemi, E Echoka, A Makokha


Introduction: ninety-two percent of Low Birth Weight(LBW) infants are born in developing countries, 70% in Asia and 22% in Africa. WHO and UNICEF estimate LBW in Kenya as11% and 6%by 2009 Kenya Demographic Health Survey. The same survey estimated LBW to be 5.5% in Central Province, Kenya. Data in Olkalou hospital indicated that prevalence of LBW was high. However, factors giving rise to the problem remained unknown.

Methods: a cross-sectional analytic study was therefore conducted to  estimate prevalence and distribution and determine the factors associated with LBW in the hospital.LBW was defined as birth of a live infant less than 2500g.We collected data using a semi-structured questionnaire and review of health records. A total 327 women were randomly selected from  500mothers.Data was managed using Epi Info 3.3.2.

Results: the prevalence of LBW was 12.3% (n=40). The mean age of  mothers was 25.6±6.2 years. Mean birth weight was 2928±533 grams.
There were 51.1% (n=165) male neonates and 48.9% (n=158) females. The following factors were significantly associated with LBW:LBW delivery
in a previous birth (OR=4.7, 95%C.I.=1.53-14.24), premature rapture of membranes (OR=2.95, 95%C.I.=1.14-7.62), premature births (OR=3.65,
95%C.I.=1.31-10.38), and female newborn (OR=2.32,  95%C.I.=1.15-4.70). On logistic regression only delivery of LBW baby in a previous birth (OR=5.07, 95%C.I.=1.59-16.21) and female infant  (OR=3.37, 95%C.I.=1.14-10.00)were independently associated with LBW.

Conclusion: prevalence of LBW in the hospital was higher than national estimates. Female infant and LBW baby in a previous birth are  independent factors. Local prevention efforts are necessary to mitigate the problem. Population-based study is necessary to provide accurate  estimates in the area.
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