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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 380-383

Morbidity status of low birth weight babies in rural areas of Assam: A prospective longitudinal study

1 Department of Community Medicine, North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Meghalaya, India
2 Department of Communty Medicine, Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati, Assam, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Madhur Borah
Department of Community Medicine, North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Meghalaya - 793 018
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2249-4863.161326

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Introduction: Low birth weight (LBW) infants suffer more episodes of common childhood diseases and the spells of illness are more prolonged and serious. Longitudinal studies are useful to observe the health and disease pattern of LBW babies over time. Aims: This study was carried out in rural areas of Assam to assess the morbidity pattern of LBW babies during their first 6 months of life and to compare them with normal birth weight (NBW) counterparts. Materials and Methods: Total 30 LBW babies (0-2 months) and equal numbers of NBW babies from three subcenters under Boko Primary Health Centre of Assam were followed up in monthly intervals till 6 months of age in a prospective fashion. Results: More than two thirds of LBW babies (77%) were suffering from moderate or severe under-nutrition during the follow up. Acute respiratory tract infection (ARI) was the predominant morbidity suffered by LBW infants. The other illnesses suffered by the LBW infants during the follow up were diarrhea, skin disorders, fever and ear disorders. LBW infants had more episodes of hospitalization (65%) than the NBW infants (35%). Incidence rate of episodes of morbidity was found to be higher among those LBW infants who remained underweight at 6 months of age (Incidence rate of 49.3 per 100 infant months) and those who were not exclusively breast fed till 6 months of age (Incidence rate of 66.7 per 100 infant months). Conclusion: The study revealed that during the follow up, incidence of morbidities were higher among the LBW babies compared to NBW babies. It was also observed that ARI was the predominant morbidity in the LBW infants during first 6 months of age.

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