Determinants of Infant Mortality in Southeast Nigeria: Results from the Healthy Beginning Initiative, 2013-2014

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International Journal of Maternal Child Health and AIDS






Background: Neonatal mortality due to preventable factors occurs at high rates throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Community-based interventions increase opportunities for prenatal screening and access to antenatal care services (ANC) services. The Healthy Beginning Initiative (HBI) provided congregation-based prenatal screening and health counseling for 3,047 women in Enugu State. The purpose of this study was to identify determinants for infant mortality among this cohort. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of post-delivery outcomes at 40 churches in Enugu State, Nigeria between 2013 and 2014. Risk factors for infant mortality were assessed using chi square, odds ratios, and multiple logistic regression. Results: There were 2,436 live births from the 2,379 women who delivered (55 sets of twins and one set of triplets), and 99 cases of neonatal/early postneonatal mortality. The neonatal mortality rate was 40.6 per 1,000 live births. Risk factors associated with neonatal mortality were lack of access to ANC services [OR= 8.81], maternal mortality [OR= 15.28], caesarian section [OR= 2.47], syphilis infection [OR= 6.46], HIV-positive status [OR= 3.87], and preterm birth [OR= 14.14]. Conclusions and Global Health Implications: These results signify that culturally-acceptablecommunity-based interventions targeted to increase access to ANC services, post-delivery services for preterm births, and HIV and syphilis screening for expectant mothers are needed to reduce infant mortality in resource-limited settings.


Infant mortality, Neonatal mortality, HIV, Antenatal care, Nigeria, Healthy beginning initiative



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