Infants' failure to regain birth weight in Africa

It is one of the Millennium
Development Goals

that, by 2015, the under-five morbidity rate should be reduced by a third.
Whilst significant amounts of work are ongoing to achieve this target, there
are still almost 4 million deaths worldwide within the first month of

Healthy newborns tend
to lose approximately 8-15% of birth weight in the first 7 days of life, but
regain this weight within 21 days postpartum. A study, in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, investigates this phenomena in low
birth weight (LBW) infants in Uganda. Unfortunately, it was found that 48% of
LBW infants had not regained their birth weight within the 21-day period. The
length of hopitalisation and the provision of the first feed postpartum were both
associated with this inability to regain birth weight.

Findings such as
this, and the estimation that LBW infants are 13 times more likely to die than normal
birth weight infants along with the fact that almost 96% of LBW infants being
born in developing countries, indicate a serious hurdle to achieving the
Millennium Development Goals.

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