Prevelance and determinants of low birth weight in Maseru Lesotho
Nwako, Azubuike Benjamin
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INTRODUCTION: Low birth weight (LBW), affecting about 30 million newborns annually, is the commonest cause of severe morbidity and mortality amongst neonates globally, and is implicated in a high proportion of stillbirths. Neonatal deaths of LBW babies are mainly due to infection, prematurity and respiratory distress. Many factors affect LBW including maternal factors such as age, pregnancy associated factors such as illness in pregnancy, socio-economic factors such as housing type and foetal factors such as multiple gestations. In 2009, a national survey estimated that the prevalence of LBW was at 9.5% in Lesotho, based on a combination of actual birth weight measurements and birth weight estimations provided by the respondents. Given the high probability of non-differential misclassification arising in the national study, the prevalence of LBW arrived at was in doubt and only a limited number of factors potentially affecting LBW were assessed.