Risk factor analysis of peri-neonatal mortality in rural Guatemala
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Peri-neonatal mortality is a serious health problem in Guatemala, especially in rural areas where most deliveries occur at home and are overseen by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) who function in the role of midwives. The three aims of the work reported here were to identify important predictors of peri-neonatal mortality within a rural area of Guatemala; to assess the effects of traditional and modern health care providers on such mortality; and to find ways of identifying high-risk women who might benefit from transfer to a hospital or clinic. For these purposes a case control study was conducted of 120 women in the rural department of Quetzaltenango who had lost their babies from the 20th week of pregnancy through the 28th day of life. These women and 120 controls were interviewed in their homes by trained physicians, using questionnaires in Spanish or the appropriate Indian dialect, and the results were analyzed through a series of statistical tests. It was found that the complications of pregnancy and delivery with the greatest statistical significance were prematurity, malpresentation, and prolonged labor. Population-based attributable risks of these complications demonstrated that they account for significant proportions of the observed peri-neonatal mortality. While these conditions cannont be eliminated, within the rural Guatemalan contex it appears that early referral of women with these complications to more specialized care settings could result in improved delivery outcomesPublished in Spanish in the BOSP. Vol. 117(5), Nov. 1994
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