Knowledge and practice of immediate newborn care among midwives and nurses in public health facilities of Afar regional state, Northeast Ethiopia

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The care given to newborns immediately within the first few hours of birth is critical for their survival. However, their survival depends on the health professional’s knowledge and skills to deliver appropriate newborn care interventions. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the knowledge and practice of immediate newborn care among nurses and midwives in public health facilities of Afar Regional State, Northeast Ethiopia.


Institution based cross-sectional study design was employed on 357 nurses and midwives working in 48 public health facilities (45 health centers and 3 hospitals) during April 2018. Data were collected using interviewer administered questionnaire and observation checklist. Then, data were entered into Epi-info version 7.0 and exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were carried out to estimate odds ratio with 95% confidence interval. A p-value less than 0.05 was used to declare statistical significance.


Overall, 53.8% [95% CI: (48.6, 59.0%)] and 62.7% [(95% CI: (57.7, 67.8%))] of the health professionals (midwives and nurses) had adequate knowledge and good practice on immediate newborn care, respectively. Working in hospital [AOR: 4.62; 95% CI (1.76, 12.10)], being a female [AOR: 0.59; 95% CI (0.39, 0.98)] and interested in providing newborn care [AOR: 0.29; 95% CI (0.13, 0.68)] were positively associated with having adequate knowledge on immediate newborn care. On the other hand, having work experience of <5years [AOR: 0.33; 95% CI (0.14, 0.78)], inadequate knowledge [AOR: 0.39; 95% CI (0.25, 0.64)], having work load [AOR: 2.09; 95% CI (1.17, 3.73)], being not interested to provide immediate newborn care [AOR: 0.35; 95% CI (0.16, 0.74)] and working in health center [AOR: 8.56; 95% CI (2.39, 30.63)] were negatively associated with good immediate newborn care practices.


A significant number of nurses and midwives had inadequate knowledge and poor practice on immediate newborn care. Therefore, providing a comprehensive newborn care training and creating an opportunity for nurses and midwives working at health centers to share experience from those hired in hospitals are very crucial to improve their knowledge and skills on newborn care.

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