Neonatal mortality refers to the birth of an infant, within 28 days after being born. This can be due to several reasons. However, it has been further observed that neonatal mortality is on a rise in the last few years. Be it due to the complications at birth, or an infection, or the absence of proper infrastructure for a healthy birth, the rate neonatal mortality has been accelerating. Addressing this, Dr. Manish Jajodia, Group Medical Director, RED.Health said in an interview with HT Lifestyle, “Over the last 5 years, the leading causes of neonatal mortality are complications due to Preterm Birth, Intrapartum-related complications which is also known as Birth Asphyxia, Sepsis and Meningitis, Congenital abnormalities, Neonatal tetanus caused due to the usage of non-sterile instruments to cut the umbilical cord or when contaminated material is used to cover the umbilical stump, and diarrhea.”
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Noting down the major causes of neonatal mortality, Dr. Pawan Jain, HOD Pediatrics, CARE Hospital Raipur added:
Preterm birth complications: Infants born before 37 weeks of gestation are at higher risk for health problems leading to premature death.
Infections: Sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, and neonatal tetanus are some of the primary infections that contribute to neonatal mortality.
Birth asphyxia: Lack of oxygen during the birthing process can lead to brain damage and death for newborn infants.
Birth defects: A category of birth defects, such as heart defects or neural tube defects, can be life-threatening for newborns.
Infrastructural causes: Lack of well-maintained neonatal ambulances, neonatal trained paramedics and doctor on call support during logistics lead to deaths.
Dr Pawan Jain further added that with more awareness and dissemination of the right I formation, neonatal mortality can be addressed. Here are some of the ways, suggested by the expert:
Information: Providing information on prenatal care, danger signs during pregnancy, and the importance of skilled birth attendance.
Neonatal care practices: Encouraging early and exclusive breastfeeding and proper neonatal care practices.
Maintaining hygiene: Promoting hygienic practices to reduce the risk of infections.
Community-based health programmes: Strengthening community-based health programs, such as the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), to ensure timely access to care for newborns.