IntroductionIn low-resource settings, a social autopsy tool has been proposed to measure the effect of delays in access to healthcare on deaths, complementing verbal autopsy questionnaires routinely used to determine cause of death. This study estimates the contribution of various delays in maternal healthcare to subsequent neonatal mortality using a social autopsy case–control design.MethodsThis study was conducted at the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) Sierra Leone site (Makeni City and surrounding rural areas). Cases were neonatal deaths in the catchment area, and controls were sex- and area-matched living neonates. Odds ratios for maternal barriers to care and neonatal death were estimated, and stratified models examined this association by neonatal age and medical complications.ResultsOf 53 neonatal deaths, 26.4% of mothers experienced at least one delay during pregnancy or delivery compared to 46.9% of mothers of stillbirths and 18.6% of control mothers. The most commonly reported delay among neonatal deaths was receiving care at the facility (18.9%). Experiencing any barrier was weakly associated (OR 1.68, CI 0.77, 3.67) and a delay in receiving care at the facility was strongly associated (OR 19.15, CI 3.90, 94.19) with neonatal death.DiscussionDelays in healthcare are associated with neonatal death, particularly delays experienced at the healthcare facility. Heterogeneity exists in the prevalence of specific delays, which has implications for local public health policy. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Maternal and Child Health Journal – Springer Journals
Published: May 4, 2021
Keywords: Social autopsy; Neonatal mortality; Delays in healthcare; Sierra Leone