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Three years of paediatric morbidity and mortality at the national hospital in Dili, East Timor


  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare that none of them have commercial affiliations and declare no other conflict of interest.
  • Authors’ contributions: IKB and ACB conceived the study and participated in its design and logistics of implementation. IKB was responsible for data collection and analysis and manuscript preparation. VD and AR performed the statistical analysis and AR also assisted with manuscript review. MC participated in manuscript preparation and review. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The aim of this study was to undertake a retrospective review of admissions and discharges to the paediatric wards at the National Hospital Guido Valadares, Dili, as the epidemiology of hospitalised children in East Timor cannot be easily understood from the hospital health management information system.


Data were sourced from unit registers for 3 years, 2008–2010 inclusive. Demographic characteristics and principal diagnoses were related to the risk of dying using stepwise multivariate logistic regression.


There were 5909 children admitted to the wards over the study period and 60% were <2 years of age. The commonest reasons for admission were lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) and gastroenteritis (43% and 16%, respectively). Severe malnutrition (MN) was recorded in only 5% of admissions. Overall, 6% of children died, mainly attributed to LRI (28%), central nervous system infections (16%) and MN (11%). Younger age, residence outside of Dili and admission during a busier period were independently associated with an increased risk of death. Nine per cent of hospitalised infants aged 1–6 months of age died and half of all deaths occurred within 2 days of admission.


The study provides, for the first time, an understanding of the admissions and outcomes of the busiest paediatric inpatient unit in East Timor. It emphasises important health system issues which impact on both data quality and hospital outcomes.