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Trop Med Int Health. 2012 Mar;17(3):272-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2011.02931.x. Epub 2011 Dec 18.

Stillbirths and early neonatal mortality in rural Northern Ghana.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7596, USA.



To calculate perinatal mortality (stillbirth and early neonatal death: END) rates in the Upper East region of Ghana and characterize community-based stillbirths and END in terms of timing, cause of death, and maternal and infant risk factors.


Birth outcomes were obtained from the Navrongo Health and Demographic Surveillance System over a 7-year period.


Twenty thousand four hundred and ninty seven pregnant women were registered in the study. The perinatal mortality rate was 39 deaths/1000 deliveries, stillbirth rate 23/1000 deliveries and END rates 16/1000 live births. Most stillbirths were 31 weeks gestation or less. Prematurity, first-time delivery and multiple gestation all significantly increased the odds of perinatal death. Approximately 70% of END occurred during the first 3 postnatal days, and the most common causes of death were birth asphyxia and injury, infections and prematurity.


Stillbirths and END remain a significant problem in Navrongo. The main causes of END occur during the first 3 days and may be modifiable with simple targeted perinatal policies.

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