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OBJECTIVE: To describe the patient population, priority diseases and outcomes in newborns admitted <48 hours old to neonatal units in both Kenya and Nigeria. STUDY DESIGN: In a network of seven secondary and tertiary level neonatal units in Nigeria and Kenya, we captured anonymised data on all admissions <48 hours of age over a 6-month period. RESULTS: 2280 newborns were admitted. Mean birthweight was 2.3 kg (SD 0.9); 57.0% (1214/2128) infants were low birthweight (LBW; <2.5kg) and 22.6% (480/2128) were very LBW (VLBW; <1.5 kg). Median gestation was 36 weeks (interquartile range 32, 39) and 21.6% (483/2236) infants were very preterm (gestation <32 weeks). The most common morbidities were jaundice (987/2262, 43.6%), suspected sepsis (955/2280, 41.9%), respiratory conditions (817/2280, 35.8%) and birth asphyxia (547/2280, 24.0%). 18.7% (423/2262) newborns died; mortality was very high amongst VLBW (222/472, 47%) and very preterm infants (197/483, 40.8%). Factors independently associated with mortality were gestation <28 weeks (adjusted odds ratio 11.58; 95% confidence interval 4.73-28.39), VLBW (6.92; 4.06-11.79), congenital anomaly (4.93; 2.42-10.05), abdominal condition (2.86; 1.40-5.83), birth asphyxia (2.44; 1.52-3.92), respiratory condition (1.46; 1.08-2.28) and maternal antibiotics within 24 hours before or after birth (1.91; 1.28-2.85). Mortality was reduced if mothers received a partial (0.51; 0.28-0.93) or full treatment course (0.44; 0.21-0.92) of dexamethasone before preterm delivery. CONCLUSION: Greater efforts are needed to address the very high burden of illnesses and mortality in hospitalized newborns in sub-Saharan Africa. Interventions need to address priority issues during pregnancy and delivery as well as in the newborn.

Original publication





PLoS One

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