Shahjahan M, Ahmed MR, Rahman MM, Afroz A. Factors affecting newborn care practices in Bangladesh. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology 2012; 26: 13–18.
Newborn care is of immense importance for the proper development and healthy life of a baby. Although child and infant mortality in South Asia has reduced substantially, the rate of neonatal mortality is still high, although these deaths can be prevented by adopting simple interventions at the community level. The aim of the study was to identify the associated factors which affect newborn care practices. Data for the study were drawn from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007, in which 6150 mothers were considered. The mean age of the mothers was 18 (±3.2) years. A little over 62% of the pregnant women received at least one antenatal check-up during the entire period of their pregnancy. About 70% of deliveries were conducted at home either by unskilled family members or by relatives. A clean instrument was used for cutting the cord of 87% of the newborn babies, while about 34% of them were reported to have had their first bath immediately after delivery. Initiation of breast feeding immediately after birth was practised in only about 19% of the cases. Compared with mothers with no education, those with secondary or higher levels were associated with clean cord care [odds ratio (OR) = 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0, 1.9] and early breast feeding [OR = 1.6, 95% CI 1.2, 2.2]. The study revealed an urgent need to educate mothers, and train traditional birth attendants and health workers on clean delivery practices and early neonatal care. Increasing the number of skilled birth attendants can be an effective strategy to increase safe delivery practices, and to reduce delivery complications.