Introduction: prematurity is the single most important cause of mortality during the neonatal period. The early growth of these infants has been shown to be a predictor of their later growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The objective of this study was to establish the determinants of early growth in preterm infants after hospital discharge at the Kitui District Hospital, Kenya. Methods: a short longitudinal study design was adopted to execute the study. During the period of April and June 2014, all the preterm infants who were discharged from the Kitui District Hospital Newborn Unit were enrolled in the study by obtaining written informed consent from their guardians. The anthropometric measurements of these infants were taken at discharge and repeated two weeks later at the Pediatric Outpatient Clinic and the Maternal Child health Clinic.A questionnaire guided interview was held with the guardians to establish infant and maternal characteristics which influenced the infants' early growth. Results: a total of 112 participants were enrolled for the study with 106 (94.4%) of them being available for reassessment after two weeks. Majority (72.6%) had deficit in growth by failing to attain the recommended WHO average weight gain of 15g/kg/day. Most of the mothers (63.4%) were between the ages of 20-29 years with half of them being first time mothers. Many of them (66.1%) had only attained primary education and were married (66.1%) to self-employed husbands (56%). Conclusion: most of the preterm infants at discharge were females who were born between 33 and 36 weeks gestation. Growth deficit was present in the majority and gestational age at birth was a major determinant of the early growth in these preterm infants.
The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24