This is a slide from one of the early lectures on the Newborn Care Course. It outlines WHO’s priorities in the fight to bring down neonatal mortality (number of deaths per 1,000 live births) to “at least as low as 12 per 1,000” by 2030.
Liberia’s neonatal mortality rate is 25 per 1,000 [UNICEF 2018 data]. 3 babies have died in the hospital in Zwedru since we’ve been here; 2 term babies born with severe hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (lack of oxygen around the time of birth) and 1 preterm baby weighing 900g who looked quite well when we arrived but died on day 6 of life during our second course – despite 2 of the local instructors leaving the course to go to the hospital to try and help save the baby.
Not many babies under 1.5kg survive here. Kola’s been discussing this this evening and showing us pictures of his successes – including one little lad called Success, born by perimortem Caesarean section to a mother with severe eclampsia, at 1kg. Now, developmentally normal and with adoptive parents, the family recently came back to the unit to celebrate his second birthday. Kola’s smallest survivor weighed just 600g at birth at 29 weeks gestation. He is now over 1 and also developmentally normal. I suspect that although the survival rates at different gestational ages are very much lower than in the UK, the percentage surviving without severe disability is probably higher.