Prevalence and determinants of early neonatal mortality in Ethiopia: findings from the Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016

Background Early neonatal death accounts for a significant number of under-5 mortality worldwide. However, the problem is under-researched and under-reported in low-income and middle-income countries, particularly in Ethiopia. The magnitude of mortality during the early neonatal period and associated factors should be studied for designing appropriate policies, and strategies that could help tackle the problem. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence and identify factors associated with early neonatal mortality in Ethiopia. Methods This study was conducted by using data from Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey 2016. A total of 10 525 live births were enrolled in the study. A multilevel logistic regression model was used to identify determinants of early neonatal mortality. Adjusted OR (AOR) at a 95% CI was computed to assess the strength and significance of the association between outcome and explanatory variables. Factors with a p<0.05 were declared statistically significant. Results The national prevalence of early neonatal mortality in Ethiopia was 41.8 (95% CI 38.1 to 45.8) early neonatal deaths per 1000 live births. The extreme ages of pregnancy (under 20 years (AOR 2.7, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.5) and above 35 years (AOR 2.4, 95% CI 1.5 to 4)), home delivery (AOR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.3), low birth weight (AOR 3.3, 95% CI 1.4 to 8.2) and multiple pregnancies (AOR 5.3, 95% CI 4.1 to 9.9) were significantly associated early neonatal mortality. Conclusions This study revealed a higher prevalence of early neonatal mortality as compared with prevalence in other low-income and middle-income countries. Thus, it is determined to be essential to design maternal and child health policies and initiatives with a priority on the prevention of early neonatal deaths. Emphasis should be given to babies born to mothers at extreme ages of pregnancy, to those born of multiple pregnancies delivered at home and to low birthweight babies.

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