The goal was to determine the effect of training in newborn care and resuscitation on 7-day (early) neonatal mortality rates for very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that these training programs would reduce neonatal mortality rates for VLBW infants.
Local instructors trained birth attendants from 96 rural communities in 6 developing countries in protocol and data collection, the World Health Organization Essential Newborn Care (ENC) course, and a modified version of the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), by using a train-the-trainer model. To test the impact of ENC training, data on infants of 500 to 1499 g were collected by using a before/after, active baseline, controlled study design. A cluster-randomized, controlled trial design was used to test the impact of the NRP.
A total of 1096 VLBW (500–1499 g) infants were enrolled, and 98.5% of live-born infants were monitored to 7 days. All-cause, 7-day neonatal mortality, stillbirth, and perinatal mortality rates were not affected by ENC or NRP training.
Neither ENC nor NRP training of birth attendants decreased 7-day neonatal, stillbirth, or perinatal mortality rates for VLBW infants born at home or at first-level facilities. Encouragement of delivery in a facility where a higher level of care is available may be preferable when delivery of a VLBW infant is expected.
neonatal mortality; perinatal mortality; stillbirth; developing countries; health care systems; very low birth weight; prematurity
Early growth faltering is common but is difficult to reverse after the first 2 years of life.
To describe feeding practices and growth in infants and young children in diverse low-income settings prior to undertaking a complementary feeding trial.
This cross-sectional study was conducted through the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research in Guatemala, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Pakistan. Feeding questionnaires were administered to convenience samples of mothers of 5- to 9-month old infants and 12- to 24-month-old toddlers. After standardized training, anthropometric measurements were obtained from the toddlers. Following the 2006 World Health Organization Growth Standards, stunting was defined as length-for-age < −2SD, and wasting as weight-for-length < −2SD. Logistic regression was applied to evaluate relationships between stunting and wasting and consumption of meat (including chicken and liver and not including fish).
Data were obtained from 1,500 infants with a mean (± SD) age of 6.9 ± 1.4 months and 1,658 toddlers with a mean age of 17.2 ± 3.5 months. The majority of the subjects in both age groups were breastfed. Less than 25% of the infants received meat regularly, whereas 62% of toddlers consumed these foods regularly, although the rates varied widely among sites. Stunting rate ranged from 44% to 66% among sites; wasting prevalence was less than 10% at all sites. After controlling for covariates, consumption of meat was associated with a reduced likelihood of stunting (OR = 0.64; 95% CI, 0.46 to 0.90).
The strikingly high stunting rates in these toddlers and the protective effect of meat consumption against stunting emphasize the need for interventions to improve complementary feeding practices, beginning in infancy.
Complementary feeding; infant growth; infant nutrition; stunting
In many developing countries including Ethiopia, maternal morbidity and mortality still pose a substantial burden and thus progress towards the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) remains slow. Raising awareness of women about the danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth is the first essential step in accepting appropriate and timely referral to obstetric care. However, in Ethiopia little is known about the knowledge level of mothers about obstetric danger signs. The objective of this study was to assess the status of knowledge of danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth among mothers who gave birth in the past two years prior to the survey in Tsegedie district, Tigray regional state, Ethiopia.
A Community based cross-sectional study was conducted from November 20, 2012 to June 30, 2013 on a randomly selected sample of 485 women who had at least one delivery in the past two years. Multistage sampling technique was employed to select the study participants. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data. Focus group discussion and in-depth interviews were utilized to supplement the Quantitative data. Bivariate and multivariate data analysis was performed using SPSS version 17.0 software.
Four hundred eighty five mothers participated in the study making a response rate of 100%. Vaginal bleeding was the most commonly mentioned danger signs of pregnancy (49.1%) and childbirth (52.8%). Two hundred eighty five (58.8%) and 299 (61.6%) of respondents mentioned at least two danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth respectively. One hundred seventy (35.1%) and 154 (31.8%) of respondents didn't know any danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth respectively. Educational status of the mother, place of delivery and having functional radio were found to be independent predictors of knowledge of women about the danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth.
Educational status of the mother, place of delivery and having functional radio were independently associated with knowledge of women about obstetric danger signs. Thus, provision of information, education and communication targeting women, family and the general community on danger signs of pregnancy and childbirth and associated factors was recommended.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection of the neonate is uncommon, but genital herpes infections in adults are very common. Thus, although treating an infant with neonatal herpes is a relatively rare occurrence, managing infants potentially exposed to HSV at the time of delivery occurs more frequently. The risk of transmitting HSV to an infant during delivery is determined in part by the mother’s previous immunity to HSV. Women with primary genital HSV infections who are shedding HSV at delivery are 10 to 30 times more likely to transmit the virus to their newborn infants than are women with recurrent HSV infection who are shedding virus at delivery. With the availability of commercial serological tests that reliably can distinguish type-specific HSV antibodies, it is now possible to determine the type of maternal infection and, thus, further refine management of infants delivered to women who have active genital HSV lesions. The management algorithm presented herein uses both serological and virological studies to determine the risk of HSV transmission to the neonate who is delivered to a mother with active herpetic genital lesions and tailors management accordingly. The algorithm does not address the approach to asymptomatic neonates delivered to women with a history of genital herpes but no active lesions at delivery.
newborn; herpes simplex virus; acyclovir; pregnancy
Background and Objectives
Following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, infant and young child feeding was identified as a priority nutrition intervention. A new approach to support breastfeeding mothers and distribute ready-to-use infant formula (RUIF) to infants unable to breastfeed was established. The objective of the evaluation was to assess the implementation of infant feeding programs using RUIF in displaced persons camps in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during the humanitarian response.
A retrospective record review was conducted from April–July, 2010 to obtain data on infants receiving RUIF in 30 baby tents. A standardized data collection form was created based on data collected across baby tents and included: basic demographics, admission criteria, primary caretaker, feeding practices, and admission and follow-up anthropometrics.
Orphans and abandoned infants were the most frequent enrollees (41%) in the program. While the program targeted these groups, it is unlikely that this is a true reflection of population demographics. Despite programmatic guidance, admission criteria were not consistently applied across programs. Thirty-four percent of infants were undernourished (weight for age Z score <−2) at the time of admission. Defaulting accounted for 50% of all program exits and there was no follow-up of these children. Low data quality was a significant barrier.
The design, implementation and magnitude of the ‘baby tents’ using RUIF was novel in response to infant and young child feeding (IYCF) in emergencies and presented multiple challenges that should not be overlooked, including adherence to protocols and the adaption of emergency programs to existing programs. The implementation of IYCF programs should be closely monitored to ensure that they achieve the objectives set by the humanitarian community and national government. IYCF is an often overlooked component of emergency preparedness; however to improve response, generic protocols and pre-emergency training and preparedness should be established for humanitarian agencies.
The rationale is considered for promoting the availability of local, affordable, non-fortified food sources of bioavailable iron in developing countries. Intakes of iron from the regular consumption of meat from the age of six months are evaluated with respect to physiological requirements. The paper includes a description of two major randomized controlled trials of meat as a first and regular complementary food that are currently in progress. These trials involve poor communities in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo and China.
iron; meat; complementary feeding
To determine the cost-effectiveness of in-utero percutaneous Vesico Amniotic Shunt (VAS) in the management of fetal lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO)
Model based economic analysis using data from the randomised controlled arm of the PLUTO (percutaneous vesico-amniotic shunting for lower urinary tract obstruction) trial.
Fetal medicine departments in United Kingdom, Ireland and Netherlands.
Population or Sample
Pregnant women with a male, singleton fetus with LUTO.
Costs and outcomes were prospectively collected in the trial; three separate base case analyses were performed using the intention to treat (ITT), per protocol and uniform prior methods. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to explore data uncertainty.
Main Outcome Measures
Survival at 28 days, 1 year and disease free survival at 1 year.
VAS was more expensive but appeared to result in higher rates of survival compared with conservative management in patients with LUTO. Using ITT analysis the incremental cost effectiveness ratios based on outcomes of survival at 28 days, 1 year, or 1 morbidity-free year on the VAS arm were £15,506, £15,545, and £43,932, respectively.
VAS is a more expensive option compared to the conservative approach in the management of individuals with LUTO. Data from the RCT suggest that VAS improves neonatal survival but does not result in significant improvements in morbidity. Our analysis concludes that VAS is not likely to be cost effective in the management of these patients given the NICE (National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence) cost threshold of £20,000 per QALY.
To analyse if platelet responsiveness to aspirin (ASA) may be associated with a different ability of platelets to generate nitric oxide (NO).
Platelets were obtained from 50 patients with stable coronary ischemia and were divided into ASA-sensitive (n = 26) and ASA-resistant (n = 24) using a platelet functionality test (PFA-100).
ASA-sensitive platelets tended to release more NO (determined as nitrite + nitrate) than ASA-resistant platelets but it did not reach statistical significance. Protein expression of nitric oxide synthase 3 (NOS3) was higher in ASA-sensitive than in ASA-resistant platelets but there were no differences in the platelet expression of nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) isoform. The highest NOS3 expression in ASA-sensitive platelets was independent of the presence of T-to-C mutation at nucleotide position −786 (T−786→C) in the NOS3-coding gene. However, platelet content of phosphorylated NOS3 at Serine (Ser)1177, an active form of NOS3, was higher in ASA-sensitive than in ASA-resistant platelets. The level of platelet NOS3 Ser1177 phosphorylation was positively associated with the closure time in the PFA-100 test. In vitro, collagen failed to stimulate the aggregation of ASA-sensitive platelets, determined by lumiaggregometry, and it was associated with a significant increase (p = 0.018) of NOS3 phosphorylation at Ser1177. On the contrary, collagen stimulated the aggregation of ASA-resistant platelets but did not significantly modify the platelet content of phosphorylated NOS3 Ser1177. During collagen stimulation the release of NO from ASA-sensitive platelets was significantly enhanced but it was not modified in ASA-resistant platelets.
Functional platelet responsiveness to ASA was associated with the platelet content of phosphorylated NOS3 at Ser1177.
The scarcity of rural doctors has undermined the ability of health systems in low and middle-income countries like India to provide quality services to rural populations. This study examines job preferences of doctors and nurses to inform what works in terms of rural recruitment strategies. Job acceptance of different strategies was compared to identify policy options for increasing the availability of clinical providers in rural areas. In 2010 a Discrete Choice Experiment was conducted in India. The study sample included final year medical and nursing students, and in-service doctors and nurses serving at Primary Health Centers. Eight job attributes were identified and a D-efficient fractional factorial design was used to construct pairs of job choices. Respondent acceptance of job choices was analyzed using multi-level logistic regression. Location mattered; jobs in areas offering urban amenities had a high likelihood of being accepted. Higher salary had small effect on doctor, but large effect on nurse, acceptance of rural jobs. At five times current salary levels, 13% (31%) of medical students (doctors) were willing to accept rural jobs. At half this level, 61% (52%) of nursing students (nurses) accepted a rural job. The strategy of reserving seats for specialist training in exchange for rural service had a large effect on job acceptance among doctors, nurses and nursing students. For doctors and nurses, properly staffed and equipped health facilities, and housing had small effects on job acceptance. Rural upbringing was not associated with rural job acceptance. Incentivizing doctors for rural service is expensive. A broader strategy of substantial salary increases with improved living, working environment, and education incentives is necessary. For both doctors and nurses, the usual strategies of moderate salary increases, good facility infrastructure, and housing will not be effective. Non-physician clinicians like nurse-practitioners offer an affordable alternative for delivering rural health care.
Prior evidence suggests geographic disparities in the effect of maternal education on child nutritional status between countries, between regions and between urban and rural areas. We postulated its effect would also vary by micro-geographic locations (indicated by mountain areas, plain areas and the edge areas) in a Chinese minority area.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with a multistage random sample of 1474 school children aged 5-12 years in Guyuan, China. Child nutritional status was measured by height-for-age z scores (HAZ). Linear mixed models were used to examine its association with place of residence and maternal education.
Micro-geographic disparities in child nutritional status and the level of socioeconomic composition were found. Children living in mountain areas had poorer nutritional status, even after adjusting for demographic (plain versus mountain, β = 0.16, P = 0.033; edge versus mountain, β = 0.29, P = 0.002) and socioeconomic factors (plain versus mountain, β = 0.12, P = 0.137; edge versus mountain, β = 0.25, P = 0.009). The disparities significantly widened with increasing years of mothers’ schooling (maternal education*plain versus mountain: β = 0.06, P = 0.007; maternal education*edge versus mountain: β = 0.07, P = 0.005). Moreover, the association between maternal education and child nutrition was negative (β = -0.03, P = 0.056) in mountain areas but positive in plain areas (β = 0.02, P = 0.094) or in the edge areas (β = 0.04, P = 0.055).
Micro-geographic disparities in child nutritional status increase with increasing level of maternal education and the effect of maternal education varies by micro-geographic locations, which exacerbates child health inequity. Educating rural girls alone is not sufficient; improving unfavorable conditions in mountain areas might make such investments more effective in promoting child health. Nutrition programs targeting to the least educated groups in plain and in edge areas would be critical to their cost-effectiveness.
Medical homes, an important component of U.S. health reform, were first developed to help families of children with special health care needs (CSHCN) find and coordinate services, and reduce their children’s unmet need for health services. We hypothesize that CSHCN lacking medical homes are more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage problems as the specific reasons for unmet need.
Data are from the 2005-2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN), a national, population-based survey of 40,723 CSHCN. We studied whether lacking a medical home was associated with 9 specific reasons for unmet need for 11 types of medical services, controlling for health insurance, child’s health, and sociodemographic characteristics.
Weighted to the national population, 17% of CSHCN reported at least one unmet health service need in the previous year. CSHCN without medical homes were 2 to 3 times as likely to report unmet need for child or family health services, and more likely to report no referral (OR= 3.3), dissatisfaction with provider (OR=2.5), service not available in area (OR= 2.1), can’t find provider who accepts insurance (OR=1.8), and health plan problems (OR=1.4) as reasons for unmet need (all p<0.05).
CSHCN without medical homes were more likely than those with medical homes to report health system delivery or coverage reasons for unmet child health service needs. Attributable risk estimates suggest that if the 50% of CSHCN who lacked medical homes had one, overall unmet need for child health services could be reduced by as much as 35% and unmet need for family health services by 40%.
To investigate the accuracy of three clinical scales for predicting severe disease (severe dehydration or death) in children with diarrhea in a resource-limited setting.
Participants included 178 children admitted to three Rwandan hospitals with diarrhea. A local physician or nurse assessed each child on arrival using the World Health Organization (WHO) severe dehydration scale and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) scale. Children were weighed on arrival and daily until they achieved a stable weight, with a 10% increase between admission weight and stable weight considered severe dehydration. The Clinical Dehydration Scale was then constructed post-hoc using the data collected for the other two scales. Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed for each scale compared to the composite outcome of severe dehydration or death.
The WHO severe dehydration scale, CDC scale, and Clinical Dehydration Scale had areas under the ROC curves (AUCs) of 0.72 (95% CI 0.60, 0.85), 0.73 (95% CI 0.62, 0.84), and 0.80 (95% CI 0.71, 0.89), respectively, in the full cohort. Only the Clinical Dehydration Scale was a significant predictor of severe disease when used in infants, with an AUC of 0.77 (95% CI 0.61, 0.93), and when used by nurses, with an AUC of 0.78 (95% CI 0.63, 0.93).
While all three scales were moderate predictors of severe disease in children with diarrhea, scale accuracy varied based on provider training and age of the child. Future research should focus on developing or validating clinical tools that can be used accurately by nurses and other less-skilled providers to assess all children with diarrhea in resource-limited settings.
In Kenya, the maternal mortality rate had ranged from 328 to 501 deaths per 100,000 live births over the last three decades. To reduce these rates, the government launched in 2006 a means-tested reproductive health output-based approach (OBA) voucher program that covers costs of antenatal care, a facility-based delivery (FBD) and a postnatal visit in prequalified healthcare facilities. This paper investigated whether women who bought the voucher for their index child and had a FBD were more likely to deliver a subsequent child in a facility compared to those who did not buy vouchers.
Methods and Findings
We used population-based cohort data from two Nairobi slums where the voucher program was piloted. We selected mothers of at least two children born between 2006 and 2012 and divided the mothers into two groups: Index-OBA mothers bought the voucher for the index child (N=352), and non-OBA mothers did not buy the voucher during the study period (N=514). The most complete model indicated that the adjusted odds-ratio of FBD of subsequent child when the index child was born in a facility was 3.89 (p<0.05) and 4.73 (p<0.01) in Group 2.
Discussion and Conclusion
The study indicated that the voucher program improved poor women access to FBD. Furthermore, the FBD of an index child appeared to have a persistent effect, as a subsequent child of the same mother was more likely to be born in a facility as well. While women who purchased the voucher have higher odds of delivering their subsequent child in a facility, those odds were smaller than those of the women who did not buy the voucher. However, women who did not buy the voucher were less likely to deliver in a good healthcare facility, negating their possible benefit of facility-based deliveries. Pathways to improve access to FBD to all near poor women are needed.
Neonatal seizures pose a high risk for adverse outcome in survived infants. While the prognostic value of amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) is well established in neonates with encephalopathy and asphyxia, neonatal seizure studies focusing on the direct correlation between early aEEG measurement and subsequent neurologic outcome are scarce. In this study, the prognostic value of aEEG features was systematically analyzed in 143 full-term neonates to identify prognostic indicators of neurodevelopmental outcome. Neonatal aEEG features of background pattern, cyclicity, and seizure activity, as well as the etiology of neonatal seizures, were significantly associated with neurodevelopmental outcome at one year of age. aEEG background pattern was highly associated with neurologic outcomes (χ2 = 116.9), followed by aEEG cyclicity (χ2 = 87.2) and seizure etiology (χ2 = 79.3). Multiple linear regression showed that the four predictors explained 71.2% of the variation in neurological outcome, with standardized β coefficients of 0.44, 0.24, 0.22, and 0.14 for the predictors of aEEG background pattern, cyclicity, etiology, and aEEG seizure activity, respectively. This clinically applicable scoring system based on etiology and three aEEG indices would allow pediatricians to assess the risk for neurodevelopmental impairment and facilitate an early intervention in newborns developing seizures.
Sepsis in older children and adults modifies immune system function. We compared serotype-specific antibody responses to heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in very low birth weight infants (<1500g,VLBW) with and without blood stream infection (BSI) during their birth hospitalization.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data for the Neonatal Research Network study of PCV7 responses among VLBWs. Infants received PCV7 at 2, 4, and 6 months after birth with blood drawn 4–6 weeks after 3rd dose. Serotype antibodies were compared between infants with or without a history of BSI. Regression models were constructed with birth-weight groups and other confounding factors identified in the primary study.
244 infants completed the vaccine series and had serum antibody available; 82 had BSI. After adjustment, BSI was not associated with reduced odds of serum antibody ≥0.35μg/mL.
BSI was not associated with reduced odds of WHO-defined protective PCV7 responses in VLBWs.
VLBW; immune response; vaccine; sepsis; blood stream infection
Mobile health applications are complex interventions that essentially require changes to the behavior of health care professionals who will use them and changes to systems or processes in delivery of care. Our aim has been to meet the technical needs of Health Extension Workers (HEWs) and midwives for maternal health using appropriate mobile technologies tools.
We have developed and evaluated a set of appropriate smartphone health applications using open source components, including a local language adapted data collection tool, health worker and manager user-friendly dashboard analytics and maternal-newborn protocols. This is an eighteen month follow-up of an ongoing observational research study in the northern of Ethiopia involving two districts, twenty HEWs, and twelve midwives.
Most health workers rapidly learned how to use and became comfortable with the touch screen devices so only limited technical support was needed. Unrestricted use of smartphones generated a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among the health workers. Ownership of the phones was a strong motivator for the health workers, who recognised the value and usefulness of the devices, so took care to look after them. A low level of smartphones breakage (8.3%,3 from 36) and loss (2.7%) were reported. Each health worker made an average of 160 mins of voice calls and downloaded 27Mb of data per month, however, we found very low usage of short message service (less than 3 per month).
Although it is too early to show a direct link between mobile technologies and health outcomes, mobile technologies allow health managers to more quickly and reliably have access to data which can help identify where there issues in the service delivery. Achieving a strong sense of ownership and empowerment among health workers is a prerequisite for a successful introduction of any mobile health program.
To assess the economic impact of maternal death on rural Chinese households during the year after maternal death.
A prospective cohort study matched 183 households who had suffered a maternal death to 346 households that experienced childbirth without maternal death in rural areas of three provinces in China. Surveys were conducted at baseline (1–3 months after maternal death or childbirth) and one year after baseline using the quantitative questionnaire. We investigated household income, expenditure, accumulated debts, and self-reported household economic status. Difference-in-Difference (DID), linear regression, and logistic regression analyses were used to compare the economic status between households with and without maternal death.
The households with maternal death had a higher risk of self-reported “household economy became worse” during the follow-up period (adjusted OR = 6.04, p<0.001). During the follow-up period, at the household level, DID estimator of income and expenditure showed that households with maternal death had a significant relative reduction of US$ 869 and US$ 650, compared to those households that experienced childbirth with no adverse event (p<0.001). Converted to proportions of change, an average of 32.0% reduction of annual income and 24.9% reduction of annual expenditure were observed in households with a maternal death. The mean increase of accumulated debts in households with a maternal death was 3.2 times as high as that in households without maternal death (p = 0.024). Expenditure pattern of households with maternal death changed, with lower consumption on food (p = 0.037), clothes and commodity (p = 0.003), traffic and communication (p = 0.022) and higher consumption on cigarette or alcohol (p = 0.014).
Compared with childbirth, maternal death had adverse impact on household economy, including higher risk of self-reported “household economy became worse”, decreased income and expenditure, increased debts and changed expenditure pattern.
To investigate if the lack of gestational age correction may explain some of the school failure seen in ex-preterm infants.
A cohort study based on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). The primary outcome was a low Key Stage 1 score (KS1) score at age 7 or having special educational needs (SEN). Exposure groups were defined as preterm (<37 weeks gestation, n = 722) or term (37–42 weeks, n = 11,268). Conditional regression models were derived, matching preterm to term infants on date of birth (DOB), expected date of delivery (EDD) or expected date of delivery and year of school entry. Multiple imputation was used to account for missing covariate data.
When matching for DOB, infants born preterm had an increased odds of a low KS1 score (OR 1.73 (1.45–2.06)) and this association persisted after adjusting for potential confounders (OR 1.57 (1.25–1.97)). The association persisted in the analysis matching for EDD (fully adjusted OR 1.53 (1.21–1.94)) but attenuated substantially after additionally restricting to those infants who entered school at the same time as the control infants (fully adjusted OR 1.25 (0.98–1.60)). A compatible reduction in the population attributable risk fraction was seen from 4.60% to 2.12%, and year of school entry appeared to modify the association between gestational age and the risk of a poor KS1 score (p = 0.029).
This study provides evidence that the school year placement and assessment of ex-preterm infants based on their actual birthday (rather than their EDD) may increase their risk of learning difficulties with corresponding school failure.
To assess performance of the WHO revised verbal autopsy tool for ascertaining the causes of still birth in comparison with reference standard cause of death ascertained by standardized clinical and supportive data.
All stillbirths at a tertiary hospital in Karachi, Pakistan were prospectively recruited into study from August 2006- February 2008. The reference standard cause of death was established by two senior obstetricians within 48 hours using the ICD coding system. Verbal autopsy interviews using modified WHO tool were conducted by trained health workers within 2- 6 weeks of still birth and the cause of death was assigned by second panel of obstetricians. The performance was assessed in terms of sensitivity, specificity and Kappa.
There were 204 still births. Of these, 80.8% of antepartum and 50.5% of intrapartum deaths were correctly diagnosed by verbal autopsy. Sensitivity of verbal autopsy was highest 68.4%, (95%CI: 46-84.6) for congenital malformation followed by obstetric complication 57.6%, (95%CI: 25-84.2). The specificity for all major causes was greater than 90%. The level of agreement was high (kappa=0.72) for anomalies and moderate (k=0.4) for all major causes of still birth, except asphyxia.
Our results suggest that verbal autopsy has reasonable validity in identifying and discriminating between causes of stillbirth in Pakistan. On the basis of these findings, we feel it has a place in resource constrained areas to inform strategic planning and mobilization of resources to attain Millennium Development Goals.
Fetal and neonatal mortality rates in low-income countries are at least 10-fold greater than in high-income countries. These differences have been related to poor access to and poor quality of obstetric and neonatal care.
This trial tested the hypothesis that teams of health care providers, administrators and local residents can address the problem of limited access to quality obstetric and neonatal care and lead to a reduction in perinatal mortality in intervention compared to control locations. In seven geographic areas in five low-income and one middle-income country, most with high perinatal mortality rates and substantial numbers of home deliveries, we performed a cluster randomized non-masked trial of a package of interventions that included community mobilization focusing on birth planning and hospital transport, community birth attendant training in problem recognition, and facility staff training in the management of obstetric and neonatal emergencies. The primary outcome was perinatal mortality at ≥28 weeks gestation or birth weight ≥1000 g.
Despite extensive effort in all sites in each of the three intervention areas, no differences emerged in the primary or any secondary outcome between the intervention and control clusters. In both groups, the mean perinatal mortality was 40.1/1,000 births (P = 0.9996). Neither were there differences between the two groups in outcomes in the last six months of the project, in the year following intervention cessation, nor in the clusters that best implemented the intervention.
This cluster randomized comprehensive, large-scale, multi-sector intervention did not result in detectable impact on the proposed outcomes. While this does not negate the importance of these interventions, we expect that achieving improvement in pregnancy outcomes in these settings will require substantially more obstetric and neonatal care infrastructure than was available at the sites during this trial, and without them provider training and community mobilization will not be sufficient. Our results highlight the critical importance of evaluating outcomes in randomized trials, as interventions that should be effective may not be.
Stillbirth; Neonatal mortality; Maternal mortality; Emergency obstetric care
Male vulnerability in health and growth outcomes has often been reported in very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm neonates. On the basis of gender-difference theories, possible associations were explored between the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone/cortisol and the outcomes of neonatal health/growth.
This study used an exploratory and comparative research design. One-hundred-one mother–VLBW preterm neonate pairs were recruited from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a tertiary medical center in the Southeastern, US. Demographic information, health and growth variables of neonates, and pregnancy and labor variables of mothers were obtained from the medical record reviews and interviews of mothers. Saliva samples from each pair were collected between 9 and 60 days of age. The levels of testosterone and cortisol were determined by using an enzyme immunoassay methodology.
Linear regression analysis showed that neonatal health problems were positively associated with the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone and cortisol, while growth delays were positively associated with the levels of postnatal salivary testosterone after adjusting for the characteristics of neonates and mothers and day of saliva sampling. The salivary levels of testosterone and cortisol were higher in neonates than in mothers. A positive correlation between the levels of testosterone and cortisol was found in neonates and in mothers.
The level of postnatal salivary testosterone is a more reliable marker in assessing neonatal health and growth outcomes compared to salivary cortisol. Further research on both testosterone and cortisol measurements at various stages during the neonatal period may elucidate further these associations.
Salivary testosterone; Salivary cortisol; Neonatal health and growth
To determine in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants if elevated blood inteferon-γ (IFN-γ), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) are associated with need for shunt following severe intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), or with ventricular dilation following milder grades /no IVH.
Whole blood cytokines were measured on postnatal days 1, 3, 7, 14, and 21. Maximum IVH grade in the first 28d, and shunt surgery or ventricular dilation on subsequent ultrasound (28d -36 w PMA) were determined.
Of 902 infants in the NICHD NRN Cytokine study who survived to 36w/discharge, 3.1% had shunts. Of the 12% of infants with severe (Gr III–IV) IVH, 26% had a shunt associated with elevated TNF-α. None of the infants without IVH (69%) or with Gr I (12%) or II (7%) IVH received shunts, but 8.4% developed ventricular dilation, associated with lower IFN-γ and higher IL-18.
Statistically significant but clinically non-discriminatory alterations in blood cytokines were noted in infants with severe IVH who received shunts and in those without severe IVH who developed ventricular dilation. Blood cytokines are likely associated with brain injury but may not be clinically useful as biomarkers for white matter damage.
Infant; premature; Cytokines; Hydrocephalus; Intraventricular hemorrhage; Intracranial hemorrhage
To describe the staffing and availability of medical equipment and medications and the performance of procedures at health facilities providing maternal and neonatal care at African, Asian, and Latin American sites participating in a multicenter trial to improve emergency obstetric/neonatal care in communities with high maternal and perinatal mortality.
In 2009, prior to intervention, we surveyed 136 hospitals and 228 clinics in 7 sites in Africa, Asia, and Latin America regarding staffing, availability of equipment/ medications, and procedures including cesarean section.
The coverage of physicians and nurses/midwives was poor in Africa and Latin America. In Africa, only 20% of hospitals had full-time physicians. Only 70% of hospitals in Africa and Asia had performed cesarean sections in the last 6 months. Oxygen was unavailable in 40% of African hospitals and 17% of Asian hospitals. Blood was unavailable in 80% of African and Asian hospitals.
Assuming that adequate facility services are necessary to improve pregnancy outcomes, it is not surprising that maternal and perinatal mortality rates in the areas surveyed are high. The data presented emphasize that to reduce mortality in these areas, resources that result in improved staffing and sufficient equipment, supplies, and medication, along with training, are required.
emergency obstetric and neonatal care; developing countries; perinatal mortality
Risks of death are high when children with pneumonia also have severe acute malnutrition (SAM) as a co-morbidity. However, there is limited published information on risk factors of death from pneumonia in SAM children. We evaluated clinically identifiable factors associated with death in under-five children who were hospitalized for the management of pneumonia and SAM.
For this unmatched case-control design, SAM children of either sex, aged 0–59 months, admitted to the Dhaka Hospital of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) during April 2011 to July 2012 with radiological pneumonia were studied. The SAM children with pneumonia who had fatal outcome constituted the cases (n = 35), and randomly selected SAM children with pneumonia who survived constituted controls (n = 105).
The median (inter-quartile range) age (months) was comparable among the cases and the controls [8.0 (4.9, 11.0) vs. 9.7 (5.0, 18.0); p = 0.210)]. In logistic regression analysis, after adjusting for potential confounders, such as vomiting, abnormal mental status, and systolic hypotension (<70 mm of Hg) in absence of dehydration, fatal cases of severely malnourished under-five children with pneumonia were more often hypoxemic (OR = 23.15, 95% CI = 4.38–122.42), had clinical dehydration (some/severe) (OR = 9.48, 95% CI = 2.42–37.19), abdominal distension at admission (OR = 4.41, 95% CI = 1.12–16.52), and received blood transfusion (OR = 5.50, 95% CI = 1.21–24.99) for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension.
Conclusion and Significance
We identified hypoxemia, clinical dehydration, and abdominal distension as the independent predictors of death in SAM children with pneumonia. SAM children with pneumonia who required blood transfusion for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension were also at risk for death. Thus, early identification and prompt management of these simple clinically recognizable predictors of death and discourage the use of blood transfusion for the management of crystalloid resistant systolic hypotension may help reduce deaths in such population.
To implement a vital statistics registry system to register pregnant women and document birth outcomes in the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research sites in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Global Network sites began a prospective population-based pregnancy registry to identify all pregnant women and record pregnancy outcomes up to 42 days post-delivery in more than 100 defined low-resource geographic areas (clusters). Pregnant women were registered during pregnancy, with 42-day maternal and neonatal follow-up recorded—including care received during the pregnancy and postpartum periods. Recorded outcomes included stillbirth, neonatal mortality, and maternal mortality rates.
In 2010, 72 848 pregnant women were enrolled and 6-week follow-up was obtained for 97.8%. Across sites, 40.7%, 24.8%, and 34.5% of births occurred in a hospital, health center, and home setting, respectively. The mean neonatal mortality rate was 23 per 1000 live births, ranging from 8.2 to 48.5 per 1000 live births. The mean stillbirth rate ranged from 13.7 to 54.4 per 1000 births.
The registry is an ongoing study to assess the impact of interventions and trends regarding pregnancy outcomes and measures of care to inform public health.
Maternal mortality; Neonatal mortality; Perinatal mortality; Pregnancy; Registry; Stillbirth