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Most Common Causation of Newborn Death in Indonesia

Posted: June 29th 2016

Neonates are the names for newborns or those aged 0-28 days. Babies less than one month old have very weak bodies and are prone to disease. That is why newborn babies need special attention so that their health remains optimal. Because if not, this could be fatal and lead to death. In fact, what are the causes of death for newborns in Indonesia? Here’s the explanation.

The cause of death for newborns in Indonesia

Reporting from the press release of the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the infant mortality rate in Indonesia was recorded to have decreased to 10,294 cases in 2017. Even though it seems profitable, the Central Bureau of Statistics reveals the astonishing fact that every hour, 8 newborns die in Indonesia.

When accumulated, this means that there are about 192 babies who must die every day. This was confirmed by Dr. Budihardja Singgih, DTM & H, MPH, as Senior Government Advisor from USAID Jalin, who was met by the Hello Sehat team in Kuningan, South Jakarta, Tuesday (18/12) in a workshop organized by USAID Jalin.

Dr. Budihardja, who has served as Director-General of Community Health at the Indonesian Ministry of Health, emphasized that this figure is still quite high. It is not only the duty of the government or doctors, the whole community also takes part in reducing the mortality rate for newborns.

Before looking for a solution, of course, you must first know the causes of death for newborns in Indonesia. Here’s a full explanation.

#1. Asphyxia

Asphyxia is the most common cause of newborn mortality in Indonesia. Asphyxia is a condition when the baby is deprived of oxygen before or during birth. This is characterized by a baby’s skin turning blue, shortness of breath, decreased heart rate, and muscle weakness.

“Usually, asphyxia is caused by congested labor, aka the baby does not come out during labor. Or it could be because the baby is almost out, but is stuck in the middle of the road. Well, this is the most frequent cause of death for newborns, “explained Dr. Budiharja.

#2. Infection

According to WHO, infection is one of the three most common causes of newborn death in the world. There are many things that can trigger an infection in newborns, including:

  • Sepsis
  • Pneumonia
  • Tetanus
  • Diarrhea

In addition, infection in newborns is quite common in areas where delivery facilities are not optimal. Take for example in the case of childbirth, the equipment needed for delivery, of course, must be sterile. If not, these tools are susceptible to exposure to microorganisms that can trigger an infection in pregnant women and newborns.

Likewise, with umbilical cord care, the tools used must also be clean and sterile. Because if not, the baby will be susceptible to infection and other diseases or even cause death.

#3. Low birth weight

Babies are said to have low birth weight if they weigh less than 2,500 grams or 2.5 kilograms (kg). According to Dr. Budihardja, babies weighing less than 2,500 grams are prone to experiencing health problems or even death at birth.

“But if it’s between 2,000 and 2,500 grams, usually it can still be saved. If it’s below that, it will be very difficult (to be born safely), “he said.

Can newborn deaths be prevented?

The number of cases of newborn deaths in Indonesia must be of concern to all parties. Not only doctors, medical teams, and the government, but also need support from the community. Both the pregnant woman herself, her husband, and her family.

Because the causes of death for newborns are different, there are different ways to prevent them. Apart from improving the quality of health services, efforts to maintain the safety of newborns are also determined by the mother’s own health.

In order for the baby to have a normal birth weight, in the sense that it is not less or not more, mothers are required to maintain their diet during pregnancy. For example, by eating more vegetables and fruit, foods high in fiber and folic acid, and other types of healthy foods. The more the mother’s nutritional needs are met during pregnancy, the more optimal the health of the mother and baby will be.

Likewise, with asphyxia and infection in newborns, these two health problems can also be prevented as early as possible.

“Meanwhile, to prevent asphyxia in babies, it can actually be prevented from the start. For example, if you know that the labor is stuck, you can immediately do a cesarean section. So, babies don’t need to stay in the birth canal for a long time, which can make them run out of oxygen, “explained Dr. Budihardja.

Meanwhile, to prevent infection, make sure the health facilities are clean and hygienic. Starting from the utensils to the delivery room, make sure everything is in a clean and sterile condition so that the baby can avoid the risk of infection.

One-month-old baby is born prematurely, of course, we cannot prevent low birth weight. That means, not everything can be prevented, but most causes of newborn death can be prevented as early as possible, “concluded Dr. Budihardja.


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