Background: Reducing neonatal mortality is a major public health priority in sub-Saharan Africa. Numerous studies have examined the determinants of neonatal mortality, but few have explored neonatal danger signs which potentially cause morbidity. This study assessed danger signs observed in neonates at birth, determined the correlations of multiple danger signs and complications between neonates and their mothers, and identified factors associated with neonatal danger signs. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three sites across Ghana between July and September in 2013. Using two-stage random sampling, we recruited 1,500 pairs of neonates and their mothers who had given birth within the preceding two years. We collected data on their socio-demographic characteristics, utilization of maternal and neonatal health services, and experiences with neonatal danger signs and maternal complications. We calculated the correlations of multiple danger signs and complications between neonates and their mothers, and performed multiple logistic regression analysis to identify factors associated with neonatal danger signs. Results: More than 25% of the neonates were born with danger signs. At-birth danger signs in neonates were correlated with maternal delivery complications (r = 0.20, p < 0.001), and neonatal complications within the first six weeks of life (r = 0.19, p < 0.001). However, only 29.1% of neonates with danger signs received postnatal care in the first two days, and 52.4% at two weeks of life. In addition to maternal complications during delivery, maternal age less than 20 years, maternal education level lower than secondary school, and fewer than four antenatal care visits significantly predicted neonatal danger signs. Conclusions: Over a quarter of neonates are born with danger signs. Maternal factors can be used to predict neonatal health condition at birth. Management of maternal health and close medical attention to high-risk neonates are crucial to reduce neonatal morbidity in Ghana.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)