Monday, July 3, 2017

Research identifies main factors that influence low birth weight in Nepal

According to a research, 27 per cent of all children born in Nepal have low birth weight and over three-quarters of the newborn deaths in Nepal occur in these low birth weight babies.
The research article in the Journal of Nepal Paediatric Society has identified age, economic status, nutrition and health check-up during pregnancy as the main factors affecting low birth weight in Nepal.
"Children born to mothers above 35 years of age, living in joint families and having low economic status were found to have given birth to babies with low birth weight," according to the lead author of the article Dr Manju Shrestha.
Children weighing less than 2.5 kg at the time of birth are considered to be low birth weight, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition. "Low ante-natal care (ANC) visits, not using folic acid and smoking and drinking habits were also associated with low birth weights," she added.
The research was carried out among 350 children admitted in Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital, Chitwan, Nepal between October 2012 and September 2014.
As low birth weight is the main cause of child mortality in Nepal, finding out the causes behind it and working on improving them is crucial to improving child health. Nepal still has a neonatal mortality rate of 33 per 1000 live births, which, according to Dr Shrestha, is very high compared to the neighboring countries.
"There is no option to addressing the factors affecting low birth weight if we want to decrease child mortality rates," she said, suggesting for increased number of training on neo-natal health, better access to nutritious food and vitamin and iron supplements during pregnancy to reduce low birth weight.

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