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80 newborns die within a week in KNH due to poor care, study

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The largest referral hospital in Kenya, Kenyatta National Hospital loses 80 newborns in a week according to the latest research published in the International Journal of Paediatrics.

The research has revealed that lack of facilities and poor care are the driving reasons to the high maternal death.

The study led by consultant doctors and senior lecturers at the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine was published on April 28th.

Dr Priti Jagdishbhai Tank, Dr Anjumanara Omar and Prof Rachel Musoke further disclosed that most of the deaths occurred within 48 hours of admission to the New Born Unit (NBU).

The researchers studied the use of antibiotics in 320 newborns who were admitted at the NBU in two months.

The report showed that 80 of the newborns died within seven days of admission implying that about 20 babies died within a week.

{ Read: Top 10 global health threats in 2019 according to WHO }

The health experts who have described the number as worryingly high faulted health workers on failure to follow the national treatment guidelines for newborns and lack of facilities.

“Overall mortality among 320 neonates admitted was 80 or 25 per cent over seven days… It is probable that most of these deaths were due to unavailability of respiratory support,” the study stated.

The researchers, however pointed out that the number of patients outdo the available equipment for respiratory within the NBU facility.

This is the first study done after the Ministry of Health revised the Kenyan guidelines three years ago.

The commitment in following the new guidelines is wanting as the researchers found that no child on the study was documented against the requirement to record every admitted babies aged 0-28 days.

{ See also: Milk of kindness: Women to donate breast milk to Pumwani bank }

Further, while it is required that the admission form shows whether the baby is breastfeeding, has convulsions or is lethargic, this was only done for a handful of cases.

Sadly, the research shows that there was extremely little laboratory investigation to find out what the babies were ailing from.

“To improve documentation, a structured neonatal admission record should be available at all times. Adequate follow-up of all babies on antibiotic as per the Kenyan guidelines is needed,” the researchers recommended.

According to Global Health Observatory data, 2.6 million newborns died in 2016. The main causes of neonatal deaths are premature births and low birth weight, infections, asphyxia, and birth trauma.

{ Read: Study shows babies try harder when they see you sweat }


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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]
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