Determinants of neonatal jaundice in Ethiopia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

World J Pediatr. 2022 Nov;18(11):725-733. doi: 10.1007/s12519-022-00597-3. Epub 2022 Sep 16.


Background: Neonatal jaundice is a common condition characterized by a yellowish discoloration of the skin, conjunctiva, and sclera caused by elevated serum or plasma bilirubin levels during the newborn period. The condition is usually not dangerous, but it can progress to severe hyperbilirubinemia, which can lead to acute bilirubin encephalopathy and kernicterus, a bilirubin-induced neurological damage. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the pooled prevalence of neonatal jaundice and its determinants in Ethiopia.

Methods: Scopus, PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, and CINAHL databases were searched for studies published between January 1, 2010 and July 30, 2021. A weighted DerSimonian Laird random-effects model was used to estimate the pooled prevalence of neonatal jaundice and its associated factors. The I2 was used to calculate the degree of heterogeneity. The funnel plot and Egger's regression test were used to assess publication bias.

Results: Totally 697 articles were generated from various databases, and the review included a total of eight articles. The pooled prevalence of neonatal jaundice was 30.96% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16.61%-45.31%)] in Ethiopia. This review showed that prolonged labor [adjusted odd ratio (AOR) = 3.39; 95% CI 2.41-4.77), low birth weight (AOR = 5.12; 95% CI 3.11-8.72), birth asphyxia (AOR = 3.75; 95% CI 2.11-6.66), cephalohematoma (AOR = 7.07; 95% CI 2.72-18.38), ABO incompatibility (AOR = 6.05; 95% CI 2.95-12.42), Rhesus (RH) incompatibility (AOR = 3.77; 95% CI 2.04-6.96), male sex (AOR = 4.53; 95% CI 3.39-6.07), and neonatal sepsis (AOR = 2.47; 95% CI 1.49-4.08) were identified as a determining factor for neonatal jaundice in Ethiopia.

Conclusions: In low- and middle-income countries, neonatal jaundice is a significant healthcare burden, accounting for a significant portion of global childhood mortality and morbidity. However, some low-cost, effective, practical, and dependable solutions have been implemented. Prolonged labor, ABO incompatibility, RH incompatibility, birth asphyxia, neonatal sepsis, low birth weight, cephalohematoma, and male sex were identified as risk factors for neonatal jaundice in Ethiopia.

Keywords: Ethiopia; Meta-analysis; Neonatal jaundice; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia
  • Bilirubin
  • Birth Weight
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice, Neonatal* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neonatal Sepsis*
  • Prevalence


  • Bilirubin