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International Journal of Population Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 404387, 10 pages
Research Article

Patterns and Determinants of Essential Newborn Care Practices in Rural Areas of Northern Ghana

School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University for Development Studies, P.O. Box 1883, Tamale, Ghana

Received 28 October 2013; Revised 24 December 2013; Accepted 29 January 2014; Published 11 March 2014

Academic Editor: Pranitha Maharaj

Copyright © 2014 Mahama Saaka and Mariam Iddrisu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. This study was designed to understand the patterns and determinants of three essential newborn care practices: safe cord care, optimal thermal care, and neonatal feeding practices. Methods. A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out on a sample of 404 lactating mothers who have delivered a live baby at home within the past one year prior to the study. Results. Overall, the prevalence of essential newborn practices on safe cord care and optimal thermal care was exceptionally low. Of the 404 newborns, only 0.2% (1) had safe cord care, 5.2% (21) optimal thermal care, and 50.2% (203) were considered to have had adequate neonatal feeding. In logistic regression analysis, the main predictors of good neonatal feeding were maternal age, timing of the first antenatal care (ANC), and maternal knowledge of newborn danger signs. Women who could mention at least 4 danger signs of the neonate were 4 times more likely to give good neonatal feeding to their babies (AOR = 4.7, Cl: 2.43–9.28), . Conclusion. Evidence from this study strongly suggests that the expected essential newborn care practices are not available to a substantial number of the newborns. Efforts should therefore be made by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to expand essential newborn care interventions beyond institutional level into the communities.