Neonatal mortality in rural Bangladesh: An exploratory Study

Mahbub Elahi Chowdhury, Halida H. Akhter, Virasakdi Chongsuvivatwong, Alan F. Geater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Bangladesh has a neonatal death rate that is substantially high and demands urgent attention. To assess the causes of neonatal mortality, 1,019 pregnant women were followed up in eight randomly-selected rural areas of the country. Trained female interviewers visited the households of the subjects at four-week intervals to record neonatal deaths (within 28 days after birth). For each death, they administered a structured verbal autopsy questionnaire to the mother and/or a close family member. Based on these field data, three neonatologists arrived at a consensus to assign two causes of death - an originating cause and a direct cause. The neonatal mortality rate was 53.5 per 1,000 livebirths. The originating causes of death were pre-maturity/low birth-weight (30%), difficult labour (16%), unhygienic birth practices (16%), others (4%), and unknown (34%). The direct causes were sepsis (32%), asphyxia (26%), tetanus (15%), respiratory distress (6%), others (6%), and unknown (14%). According to the prevailing causes of neonatal deaths, implementation of intervention programmes, often in the community, that do not depend on highly-technical training or sophisticated equipment should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bangladesh
  • Causes of death
  • Neonatal mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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