Iron and folic acid supplements and reduced early neonatal deaths in Indonesia

Sydney School of Public Health, Edward Ford Building (A27), University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.
Bulletin of the World Health Organisation (Impact Factor: 5.09). 07/2010; 88(7):500-8. DOI: 10.2471/BLT.09.065813
Source: PubMed


To examine the relationship between antenatal care, iron and folic acid supplementation and tetanus toxoid vaccination during pregnancy in Indonesia and the risk of early neonatal death (death in days 0-6 of life).
We analysed pooled data on neonatal survival in singleton infants born in the 5 years before each of the Indonesian demographic and health surveys of 1994, 1997 and 2002-2003. Only the most recently born infant of each mother was included. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to identify factors linked to early neonatal death.
Of the 40 576 infants included, 442 experienced early neonatal death. After adjustment, the risk of early neonatal death was significantly reduced for infants of mothers who received either any form of antenatal care (hazard ratio, HR: 0.48; 95% confidence interval, CI: 0.31-0.73), any quantity of iron and folic acid (HR: 0.53; 95% CI: 0.36-0.77) or >or= 2 tetanus toxoid injections (HR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.48-0.92). When we analysed different combinations of these measures, iron and folic acid supplementation provided the main protective effect: early neonatal deaths were still significantly reduced among infants whose mothers received iron and folic acid supplements but no other form of antenatal care (HR: 0.10; 95% CI: 0.01-0.67), or the supplements but < 2 tetanus toxoid injections (HR: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.29-0.73). Subsequent analysis showed that 20% of early neonatal deaths in Indonesia could be attributed to a lack of iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy.
Iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy in Indonesia significantly reduced the risk of early neonatal death and could also do so in other low- and middle-income countries.

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Available from: Kingsley Agho, Jan 02, 2014
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    • "There was no much evidence yet to support the added benefits of these supplements in preventing miscarriage or stillbirth. Evidence mainly supports the use of these drugs to prevent anaemia and iron deficiency at term, to reduce the risk of low birth weight and early neonatal death, all factors that have shown to have a beneficial impact on child’s survival [28–30]. The observed beneficial effects of recommended iron and folic acid supplementation in pregnancy validate the concept of pharmacovigilance system through HDSS. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background There is limited safety information on most drugs used during pregnancy. This is especially true for medication against tropical diseases because pharmacovigilance systems are not much developed in these settings. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate feasibility of using Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) as a platform to monitor drug safety in pregnancy. Methods Pregnant women with gestational age below 20 weeks were recruited from Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) clinics or from monthly house visits carried out for the HDSS. A structured questionnaire was used to interview pregnant women. Participants were followed on monthly basis to record any new drug used as well as pregnancy outcome. Results 1089 pregnant women were recruited; 994 (91.3%) completed the follow-up until delivery. 98% women reported to have taken at least one medication during pregnancy, mainly those used in antenatal programmes. Other most reported drugs were analgesics (24%), antibiotics (17%), and antimalarial (15%), excluding IPTp. Artemether-lumefantrine (AL) was the most used antimalarial for treating illness by nearly 3/4 compared to other groups of malaria drugs. Overall, antimalarial and antibiotic exposures in pregnancy were not significantly associated with adverse pregnancy outcome. Iron and folic acid supplementation were associated with decreased risk of miscarriage/stillbirth (OR 0.1; 0.08 – 0.3). Conclusion Almost all women were exposed to medication during pregnancy. Exposure to iron and folic acid had a beneficial effect on pregnancy outcome. HDSS proved to be a useful platform to establish a reliable pharmacovigilance system in resource-limited countries. Widening drug safety information is essential to facilitate evidence based risk-benefit decision for treatment during pregnancy, a major challenge with newly marketed medicines.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
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    • "Additionally, we did not include birth weight of neonates because almost half of the neonates were not weighed at the time of birth. However, perceived newborn size at birth by mothers (small or very small, and average or large) was used instead of birth weight because a previous study showed that there is a close relationship between mean birth weight and perceived newborn size by the mother [21]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Nigeria continues to have one of the highest rates of neonatal deaths in Africa. This study aimed to identify risk factors associated with neonatal death in Nigeria using the 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). Methods Neonatal deaths of all singleton live-born infants between 2003 and 2008 were extracted from the 2008 NDHS. The 2008 NDHS was a multi-stage cluster sample survey of 36,298 households. Of these households, survival information of 27,147 singleton live-borns was obtained, including 996 cases of neonatal mortality. The risk of death was adjusted for confounders relating to individual, household, and community level factors using Cox regression. Results Multivariable analyses indicated that a higher birth order of newborns with a short birth interval ≤ 2 years (hazard ratio [HR] = 2.19, confidence interval [CI]: 1.68–2.84) and newborns with a higher birth order with a longer birth interval > 2 years (HR = 1.36, CI: 1.05–1.78) were significantly associated with neonatal mortality. Other significant factors that affected neonatal deaths included neonates born to mothers younger than 20 years (HR = 4.07, CI: 2.83–5.86), neonates born to mothers residing in rural areas compared with urban residents (HR = 1.26, CI: 1.03–1.55), male neonates (HR = 1.30, CI: 1.12–1.53), mothers who perceived their neonate’s body size to be smaller than the average size (HR = 2.10, CI: 1.77–2.50), and mothers who delivered their neonates by caesarean section (HR = 2.80, CI: 1.84–4.25). Conclusions Our study suggests that the Nigerian government needs to invest more in the healthcare system to ensure quality care for women and newborns. Community-based intervention is also required and should focus on child spacing, childbearing at a younger age, and poverty eradication programs, particularly in rural areas, to reduce avoidable neonatal deaths in Nigeria.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    • "Recall bias is a pertinent issue in the dataset of the NDHS as it includes the information five years preceding the survey. However, usefulness of this dataset for neonatal health has been demonstrated in previous studies [26], [39]. The major limitation of this study is including only four major thermal care practices while other practices such as keeping house warm, giving skin to skin care for low birth weight newborns are also important thermal care practices. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hypothermia is a major factor associated with neonatal mortality in low and middle income countries. Thermal care protection of newborn through a series of measures taken at birth and during the initial days of life is recommended to reduce the hypothermia and associated neonatal mortality. This study aimed to identify the prevalence of and the factors associated with receiving 'optimum thermal care' among home born newborns of Nepal. Data from the Nepal Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) 2011 were used for this study. Women who reported a home birth for their most recent childbirth was included in the study. Factors associated with optimum thermal care were examined using Chi-square test followed by logistic regression. A total of 2464 newborns were included in the study. A total of 57.6 % were dried before the placenta was delivered; 60.3% were wrapped; 24.5% had not bathing during the first 24 hours, and 63.9% were breastfed within one hour of birth. Overall, only 248 (10.7%; 95% CI (8.8 %, 12.9%)) newborns received optimum thermal care. Newborns whose mothers had achieved higher education (OR 2.810; 95% CI (1.132, 6.976)), attended four or more antenatal care visits (OR 2.563; 95% CI (1.309, 5.017)), and those whose birth were attended by skilled attendants (OR 2.178; 95% CI (1.428, 3.323)) were likely to receive optimum thermal care. The current study showed that only one in ten newborns in Nepal received optimum thermal care. Future newborn survival programs should focus on those mothers who are uneducated; who do not attend the recommended four or more attend antenatal care visits; and those who deliver without the assistance of skilled birth attendants to reduce the risk of neonatal hypothermia in Nepal.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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