Retrospective review of neonatal morbidity and mortality at public referral hospitals in Greater Accra Region of Ghana:2013–2014

Enweronu-Laryea, C.C.*,Onwona-Agyeman, K., Ayibor, P.K., Annan, F.B., Gyakari, E.O., Vanotoo, L.A. | JNPM 2020;


BACKGROUND: Reliable local data for evaluating and planning neonatal interventions in low-resource countries are scarce. To provide data for evaluating neonatal interventions in an administrative region of Ghana, the study examined baseline data for inpatient neonatal services prior to the implementation of a 5-years national action plan to reduce newborn deaths.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of admissions and deaths registry for the years 2013 and 2014 at 3 referral neonatal units representing district, regional and tertiary referral centres in Greater Accra Region of Ghana. Perinatal, and neonatal hospitalisation data were extracted. Chi-squared test was used to compare outcomes.

RESULTS: Of the 8228 newborn infants hospitalised for special care, over 99% had antenatal care and were delivered at a health facility, 96.7% and 91.7% had birth weight and outcome data, respectively. Low birth weight infants accounted for 48.5% of total admissions and 67% of deaths. Using birth weight criteria, survival to discharge was 25.6% for infants less than 1000grams, 67.9% for 1000–1499grams, 88% for 1500–2499grams and 88.7% for infants 2500grams and higher. Among infants with birth weight of 1000grams and higher, perinatal asphyxia (70.6%) and respiratory distress (16.4%) accounted for most deaths.

CONCLUSION: There was significant burden of neonatal morbidity and mortality in hospitalized newborns prior to the implementation of the national action plan. The report provides a yardstick for assessing the impact of the national action plan and comparative analysis of future interventions on neonatal outcome in the region.

*Corresponding Author: 

Christabel C. Enweronu-Laryea, Department of Child Health, University of Ghana School of Medicine and Dentistry, PO Box 4236, Accra, Ghana. Tel.: +233 208 154886; E-mails:,