Assessment of the Nutritional Status of Babies with Neonatal Jaundice in Ghana

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.10.04.Art004

Authors : Frederick Adiiboka, Ravinder Kumar Soni, Frederick Vuvor, Diana Abobi Kanbigs


Neonatal jaundice is a public health concern responsible for a relatively high rate of infant morbidity and mortality. Therefore, it is prudent to put in place effective risk-reduction strategies and detect and treat new born jaundice effectively. Optimum nutrition has been shown to be crucial to health and well-being. This study, therefore, sought to investigate the nutritional status of babies that report to three referral hospitals in Ghana (Korle-bu Teaching Hospital, Greater Accra Regional Hospital and the Tamale Teaching hospital). It was a multi-center nested, case-control study involving 120 cases and 120 controls of neonates in the three referral hospitals in Ghana. The study revealed that babies with neonatal jaundice in Ghana mostly have a normal nutritional status, even though they lose about 5% of their birth weight. More mothers of healthy babies (88.3%) did exclusive breastfeeding, compared with mothers of babies with neonatal jaundice (76.7%). It was also revealed that the three referral hospitals implemented the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative’s ten steps to successful breastfeeding as a measure to prevent suboptimal feeding, which could lead to an increase in bilirubin levels. Assessment and interventions to prevent weight loss should therefore be paramount for babies with neonatal jaundice.

Keywords: Malnutrition, Neonatal jaundice.


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