Factors Associated with Increased Neonatal Deaths at a Regional Hospital in Namibia
The increased neonatal mortality rate in a regional hospital in Namibia is a concern. According to the 2013 records of the hospital, there were 333 neonatal deaths from 1 January to 31 December 2013. The aim of the study was to investigate the causes of the increased neonatal deaths at this regional hospital in Namibia. A retrospective descriptive survey design was employed to conduct the study. Data were collected from 231 record files of neonates that died from 1 January to 31 December 2013 while admitted at the regional hospital before 28 completed days of life. The results shows that 67.1 per cent (n = 155) neonates that died in the regional hospital were during the first 7 days of life, and 32.9 per cent (n = 76) died after 7 days of life but before 28 completed days of life. Five causes accounted for the early neonatal deaths: respiratory distress syndrome, congenital abnormalities, neonatal sepsis, birth asphyxia, and haemorrhagic diseases of newborns. The late neonatal deaths were mainly caused by neonatal sepsis, followed by respiratory distress syndrome, congenital abnormalities, and birth asphyxia. The results also indicated poor record-keeping as an associated factor in this regional hospital. The study finally concluded that the majority of neonatal deaths that occurred in 2013 at the regional hospital were associated with multiple factors such as respiratory distress syndrome, neonatal sepsis, asphyxia, and congenital abnormalities. However, the majority of these factors could have been avoided.