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Measuring newborn foot length to identify small babies in need of extra care: a cross sectional hospital based study with community follow-up in Tanzania

Marchant, Tanya and Jaribu, Jennie and Penfold, Suzanne and Tanner, Marcel and Armstrong Schellenberg, Joanna. (2010) Measuring newborn foot length to identify small babies in need of extra care: a cross sectional hospital based study with community follow-up in Tanzania. BMC Public Health, Vol. 10 , 624.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5842947

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Abstract

ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Neonatal mortality because of low birth weight or prematurity remains high in many developing country settings. This research aimed to estimate the sensitivity and specificity of newborn foot length to identify babies who are low birth weight or premature and in need of extra care in a rural African setting. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of newborn babies in hospital, with community follow-up on the fifth day of life, was carried out between 13 July and 16 October 2009 in southern Tanzania. Foot length, birth weight and gestational age were estimated on the first day and foot length remeasured on the fifth day of life. RESULTS: In hospital 529 babies were recruited and measured within 24 hours of birth, 183 of whom were also followed-up at home on the fifth day. Day one foot length >7cm at birth was 75% sensitive (95%CI 36-100) and 99% specific (95%CI 97-99) to identify very small babies (birth weight >1500grams); foot length >8cm had sensitivity and specificity of 87% (95%CI 79-94) and 60% (95%CI 55-64) to identify those with low birth weight (>2500grams), and 93% (95%CI 82-99) and 58% (95%CI 53-62) to identify those born premature (>37 weeks). Mean foot length on the first day was 7.8cm (standard deviation 0.47); the mean difference between first and fifth day foot lengths was 0.1cm (standard deviation 0.3): foot length measured on or before the fifth day of life identified more than three-quarters of babies who were born low birth weight. CONCLUSION: Measurement of newborn foot length for home births in resource poor settings has the potential to be used by birth attendants, community volunteers or parents as a screening tool to identify low birth weight or premature newborns in order that they can receive targeted interventions for improved survival
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Sozial- und Präventivmedizin > Malaria Vaccines (Tanner)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Health Interventions > Malaria Vaccines (Tanner)
UniBasel Contributors:Tanner, Marcel
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1471-2458
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Jun 2013 12:24
Deposited On:08 Jun 2012 06:48

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