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Keywords:

  • (very) low birthweight;
  • infants;
  • follow-up;
  • growth potential of (V)LBW infants;
  • Ghana

Summary This prospective and descriptive study was conducted to evaluate the growth and survival of 105 low birthweight (LBW, 1000–2000 g) infants discharged during a 4-year period from Agogo Hospital, Ghana, and followed from birth until the age of 4–9 years. Thirty-two babies were very low birthweight children (VLBW, 1000–1500 g) and 73 (70%) were of moderately low birthweight (MLBW, 1501–2000 g). At the age of 3 years, 15 children (14.2%) had not come for follow-up; of the remaining 90 children, nine (10%) had died, five during the first 3 months of life. At follow-up from 4 to 9 years of age, two more children could not be traced and another two had died. Compared to a local reference population and the WHO standard, growth of survivors lagged behind and caught up only slightly during the first 3 years of life. From 3 to 9 years of age, median growth impairment increased, which either suggests impaired growth potential or poor health and inadequate nutrition. This long-term study confirms that LBW (1000–2000 g) infants, particularly VLBW children, are at high risk.