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Causes of neonatal death and associated health seeking behaviour in Barpeta district, Assam, India: a community based study

Swapna D. Kakoty, Mustaque Ahmed, Debadeep Kalita.

Abstract
Background: Infant mortality rate (IMR) is an important indicator of health status and socioeconomic progress of a country. Assam is one of the states of India with a high Infant mortality rate. Information regarding neonatal or infant death mostly is gathered from hospital based studies or large nationally representative studies. Information at the district level is obtained only from the various annual health surveys or the routine reporting system. However these studies do not report health seeking behaviour. In this background, the present study was undertaken to know causes of neonatal deaths as well as health seeking behaviour of families in Barpeta district.
Methods: All neonatal deaths occurring in the district in the first quarter of 2016 were identified. Verbal autopsy was conducted within a month of reported death by using predesigned pretested verbal autopsy questionnaire. A sample size of 90 was purposively selected. Secondary records available with the family were examined.
Results: One fourth of deaths took place on day 1 and 80% died within the first week. Infection namely pneumonia and septicaemia accounted for 47.7% of death followed by asphyxia and respiratory distress syndrome. About 46% of mother had history of prolonged or complicated delivery. Around 54% deliveries were conducted in institutions and only 59% of neonates were taken for treatment.
Conclusions: Infection, asphyxia and low birth weight were most common causes of neonatal death. Early identification of complication and prompt referral has to be promoted by increasing home visit by community workers and removing bottlenecks in transportation.

Key words: Asphyxia, Infection, Neonatal death, Verbal autopsy



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