Korle-Bu Recorded 1,036 Child Deaths Last Year

Statistics from the Health Information Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) indicate that 1,036 child deaths were recorded at the hospital last year. Sources from the hospital attributed causes of the top 10 deaths to premature birth, birth asphyxia, respiratory distress, me conium aspiration, failure to thrive (FTT), retroviral infection, (HIV), neonatal sepsis, anaemia and malaria. Out of the number, premature birth mortality was the highest; accounting for 244 deaths of babies from January to November 2011 while birth asphyxia came second highest with a total number of 101 deaths recorded as of November, last year. According to health experts, premature or pre-term birth refers to the birth of a baby of less than 37 weeks gestational age time elapsed since conception), as well as the birth of a baby before the developing organs are matured enough to allow normal postnatal survival. Online information on child welfare indicates that premature birth can occur when a pregnant woman has malaria, hypertension, early bleeding, low blood count, high blood pressure and incompetent cervix. The principal nursing officer (PNO) at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the KBTH, Mrs Abigail Aryee, said that premature babies were sometimes referred from the other hospitals to the KBTH, and some of the babies were mostly in bad states before getting there. According to her, some private hospitals that did not have incubators or ventilators to cater for the babies transferred the babies to KBTH for proper health care and some of the babies died before getting to the hospital. She also stated that most of the babies died due to respiratory distress, the delay in bringing the babies to the hospital on time and explained that this was because the lungs of the premature babies were not matured enough and therefore needed to be aided by giving them oxygen to keep them alive. Mrs. Aryee advises pregnant women to regularly attend antenatal clinic or hospital for their health conditions to be monitored to avoid complications in pregnancy.