Background: Neonatal mortality and morbidity are increasingly recognized as important globally, but detailed estimates of neonatal morbidity from conditions and long-term consequences are yet to be published.
Methods: We describe the general methods for systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and modeling used in this supplement, highlighting differences from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD2010) inputs and methods. For five conditions (preterm birth, retinopathy of prematurity, intrapartum-related conditions, neonatal infections, and neonatal jaundice), a standard three-step compartmental model was applied to estimate--by region, for 2010--the numbers of (i) affected births by sex, (ii) postneonatal survivors, and (iii) impaired postneonatal survivors. For conditions included in GBD2010 analyses (preterm birth and intrapartum-related conditions), impairment at all ages was estimated, and disability weights were applied to estimate years lived with disability (YLD) and summed with years of life lost (YLL) to calculate disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
Results: GBD2010 estimated neonatal conditions (preterm birth, intrapartum-related, neonatal sepsis, and "other neonatal") to be responsible for 202 million DALYs or 8.1% (7.3-9.0%) of the worldwide total. Mortality contributed 95% of the DALYs, and the estimated 26% reduction in neonatal condition DALYs since 1990 is primarily due to a 44% reduction in neonatal mortality rate due to these conditions, counterbalanced by increased numbers of babies born (17%). Impairment following neonatal conditions remained stable globally and is therefore relatively more important, especially in high- and middle-income countries. Crucial data gaps were identified.
Conclusion: These results confirm neonatal conditions as a significant burden, reemphasizing the need to reduce deaths further, to count the linked 2.6 million stillbirths, and to better measure and address their long-term effects.