Birth defects and injuries fuel newborn deaths

Kumasi, Birth defects and injuries have been identified as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among newborns at the Neonatal Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH).

A total of 240 such cases were recorded at the referral facility between September 2015, and March this year.

A joint study conducted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) School of Medical Sciences and the Neonatal, Research and Development Units of KATH, put the percentage of deaths resulting from birth defects at 16.

That of the injuries accounted for 5.9 per cent deaths.

Dr. Gyikua Plange-Rhule, a Health Research Scientist and Pediatrician at the Hospital, presented the findings of the study at a scientific conference of the University’s College of Health Sciences in Kumasi.

She mentioned some of the defects as chromosomal disorders, anorectal malformation, cleft lip and palate, omphalocele and congenital heart disease.

The injuries also ranged from sub-galeal bleed, cephal hematoma and peripheral nerve injury to fractures.

Dr. Plange-Rhule indicated that 62.3 per cent of those born with defects was female and said the demographic characteristics, antenatal history including the use of drugs and potential teratogens of the cases dealt with were documented as part of the study.

She noted that birth defects and injuries had emerged as some of the key causes of morbidity and mortality in developing countries.

These were also major risk factors for physical and psychological disability in later life.

She underlined the need for the nation to build a strong data base on detailed epidemiological description of related ailments to aid treatment and improve the health of the people.

The conference is providing the platform for health scientists of the university and allied health professionals to present research findings on emerging health challenges and how these could be addressed.

Source: Ghana News Agency