Anthropometric correlates of birth weight usable at facility and community level: a case study of Mbarara regional referral hospital
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Anthropometric measurements of neonates can act as a surrogate measure for birth weight. Undetermined birth weight due to lack of weighing scales and inadequate skilled health personnel result into inadequate baseline data necessary for child health and growth monitoring. Objective: The study aimed to determine anthropometric parameters that can be reliably used to estimate birth weight of neonates in the first 24 hours after birth at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH), South western Uganda. Methods: An analytical cross sectional study was conducted at MRRH. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect data from a sample of 556 respondents consisting of 553 neonates, one midwife and two Community Health Workers (CHWs). Seven anthropometric parameters; foot length, circumferences (of head, chest, thigh, mid upper arm and calf) as well as length of neonates were obtained as proxy measures of birth weight. In depth interviews were conducted on midwives and CHWs who participated in measuring anthropometric parameters.. Findings: Chest Circumference was the most reliable parameter (AUC= 0.89, DOR= 33.57) of the studied parameters (head, MUAC, thigh and calf circumferences, foot and body length). There were statistical significant mean differences in all the anthropometric measurements made by midwives and CHWs except for chest circumference (Mean difference = 0.03 cm, 95% CI: -0.22-0.29, p = 0.7963) and foot length (Mean difference = 0.03 cm, 95% CI: -0.22-0.29, p = 0.7963). Five themes emerged from inquiry about experiences of midwives and CHWs. These included difficulty in taking anthropometric measurements, ways to improve the use of anthropometric measurements, benefits of using anthropometric measurements, challenges of using a weighing scale over anthropometric measurements and possible ways to improve the use of a weighing scale. Conclusion: Chest circumference is the most reliable anthropometric parameter to estimate birth weight of neonates. Both midwives and CHWs are able to measure anthropometrics with minimal mean differences. Recommendations This study recommends conducting more similar anthropometric studies in other regions of the country such that the policy and planning division of Ministry of Health may roll down the use of chest circumference as a complementary perinatal routine procedure for determining birth weight of neonates.