Risk Factors Associated with Neonatal Sepsis: A Case Study at a Specialist Hospital in Ghana

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Worldwide, neonatal sepsis accounts for an estimated 26% of under-five deaths, with sub-Saharan Africa having the highest mortality rates. Though worldwide neonatal deaths have decreased by over 3.6 million per year since 2000, neonatal sepsis remains a notable hindrance to the progress in the decline of cause-specific mortality rates especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed at examining the risk factors of neonatal sepsis at the Trauma and Specialist Hospital, Winneba. The study was an unmatched case control retrospective study. Cases were neonates who had sepsis with their index mothers and controls were neonates who did not have sepsis with their index mothers. Neonatal and maternal medical records were retrieved from January to December 2017. Data abstraction lasted for one month and 2650 folders for the neonates and their index mothers were retrieved. Nine hundred (900) neonatal folders were considered valid for the study and likewise for the maternal folders. One hundred and three (103) folders were considered cases while 797 were considered as controls. Data were entered using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences Version 22. Logistic regression was used to determine the risk of neonatal sepsis. Maternal factors that predicted the occurrence of sepsis among neonates were parity (p<0.027), mode of delivery (p<0.001), bleeding disorder (p<0.001), and PROM (p<0.001). Neonatal risk factors which predicted the occurrence of sepsis were APGAR score in the first and fifth minute (p<0.001), resuscitation at birth (p<0.004), duration of stay in the facility (p<0.001), and neonatal age on admission (p<0.001). The study found both maternal and neonatal factors to have a strong association with the risk of developing neonatal sepsis. Encouraging maternal antenatal care utilization would help identify the risk factors during prenatal and postnatal care and appropriate interventions implemented to reduce the likelihood of the neonate developing sepsis.

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