Clinical algorithms for the identification of sick newborns in community-based settings

Acta Paediatr. 2012 Apr;101(4):344-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02540.x. Epub 2011 Dec 20.


Clinical algorithms can be powerful tools for the identification of sick newborns at risk of neonatal mortality. Several studies have evaluated clinical signs for newborns aged 0-60 days to identify severe illness; however, few studies have focused specifically on the most vulnerable time period for neonatal death, the first week of life. Therefore, we reviewed the studies that evaluated clinical signs in newborns 0-60 days, focusing on infants 0 to <7 days. Based on a comparison of relevant studies, we then identified the common, important clinical signs shown to be useful for the identification of at-risk newborns by health workers in community-based and low-resource settings.

Conclusion: We concluded that further work is urgently needed to develop a clinical algorithm for widespread validation in various community-based settings, which focuses specifically on newborns <7 days at risk of early neonatal mortality.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Algorithms*
  • Child Health Services / methods*
  • Community Health Workers*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Mortality*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Risk Assessment / methods