Determinants of Neonatal Mortality in Kenya: Evidence from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014

Int J MCH AIDS. 2021;10(2):287-295. doi: 10.21106/ijma.508. Epub 2021 Dec 13.

Abstract

Background: Globally, there has been a marked decline in neonatal mortality and overall child mortality indicators from 1990 to date. In Kenya, neonatal deaths remain unacceptably high, contributing to 40% of under-five mortality rates (U5MR) making it an important health priority. The objective of this study was to identify the determinants of neonatal mortality in Kenya. An understanding of the determinants of neonatal mortality will provide evidence for better interventions to reduce these deaths.

Methods: Neonatal deaths from singleton live-born infants were extracted from women's dataset collected for the 5-year period preceding the study published in the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS), 2014. Data were obtained from 18,951 births. There were 356 neonatal deaths recorded. Data were weighted using an individual weighting factor to adjust for the study design and reduce sample variability. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0. Logistic regression was conducted to adjust for confounding factors.

Results: Neonatal mortality rate was established at 19/1000 (95% CI: 16.8-20.7). Mothers with no education had higher odds of experiencing deaths of neonates with adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR)=2.201, 95% CI: 1.43-4.15,p=0.049) compared to mothers with higher education. Low Birth Weight (LBW) neonates were 3.2 times likely to die in the first 28 days (aOR=3.206, 95% CI: 1.85-12.08, p=0.006) compared to neonates with >3.5 kilograms at birth. Mothers who did not attend ANC during pregnancy and those who attended between 1-3 ANC visits had higher odds of losing their infants (aOR=3.348, 95% CI: 1.616-8.53, p=0.041, and aOR=2.316, 95% CI: 1.10-4.88, p=0.027) respectively, compared to mothers who attended >4 ANC visits.

Conclusion and global health implications: Improving maternal health and nutrition during pregnancy should be enhanced to ensure adequate weight gain and reduce instances of low birth weight. Community referrals and follow-up for expectant women to take up the requisite 4 ANC visits should be encouraged. Girls' education should be emphasized to reduce the proportion of illiterate mothers.

Keywords: Antenatal Care; Determinants; Low Birth Weight; Neonatal Mortality.