Introduction: Neonatal transport involves moving sick neonates in optimal conditions to ensure good outcomes. It is well organized in most developed countries but receives little attention in developing countries where the highest burden of neonatal mortality exists and a large number of newborns require referrals daily for better medical care. This study sought to evaluate the modes of transport, pre- and intra-transport care of neonates referred to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Nigeria. Methods: The methods of transporting 401 neonates presenting to the children’s emergency room of the hospital were evaluated as well as the care the babies received during transport. Categorical variables were compared using the Chi square test while continuous variables were compared by the student t-test. Results: About a third presented in the first 12hours and 85% in the first week of life, all from within 80km radius. There were 67.1% term, 31.4% preterm and 1.5% post-term neonates, all without prior communication. The modes of transport included private vehicles (43.9%), commercial vehicles (40.6%), motorcycles (9.0%), ambulance (4.0%) and on foot (2.5%). Only 3 (0.7%) were transported in incubators and none in KMC position. Only 42.0% had referral letters and 7.0% were accompanied by medical personnel. Materials available during transport included Ambubags (3.7%), oxygen (3.5%) and some drugs (3.5%). Events during transport were apnoea, 4.7%, vomiting 1.0%, reduced activity 16.2% and seizures 13.7%. 19 (4.7%) neonates were dead on arrival. Pre-transport care included resuscitation (18.2%), intravenous fluid/feeding (24.4%) and supplemental oxygen (14.0%). Conclusion: Neonatal transport practices in Ibadan, Nigeria are abysmal with associated high mortality.
Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24