Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the mortality pattern in children seen at Federal Medical Centre Umuahia (FMCU) Abia state, South Eastern Nigeria.
Methods: A retrospective cross sectional descriptive study over a 5-year period from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2008 using data retrieved from the hospital’s medical records department.
Results: A total of 3,814 children were admitted in the hospital and 434 of them died giving a mortality rate of 11%. The mean age was 1.7 (Std D of 3.19). Two hundred and thirty eight of them were males while 196 of them were females giving a sex ratio of 1.2:1. Majority of the mortality (49%) occurred within 24 hours of admission. The major causes of death during neonatal period were birth asphyxia (34%), prematurity (24%) and neonatal sepsis (24%). Malaria was the leading cause of death beyond the neonatal period accounting for 42% of cases. Other common mortality causes were pneumonia, septicaemia, diarrhea, HIV AIDS and meningitis each accounting for 10%, 10%, 7%, 7% and 5% respectively. The months of July, May and March accounted for most deaths (12%, 12% and 11% respectively).
Conclusion: Birth asphyxia and malaria associated deaths were responsible for most deaths during neonatal and beyond neonatal periods respectively. Presence of trained personal at all deliveries will help to reduce neonatal asphyxia. Efforts should be made to reinforce the existing effective malaria control tools.Keywords: Mortality pattern; Causes of death; Childhood; Admission duration.