Rural-urban differences of neonatal mortality in a poorly developed province of China
1 Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Hangkong Road 13, Wuhan, 430030, China
2 Department of Neonatology, Maternal and Child Hospital of Gansu Province, Qilihe North Street 143, Lanzhou, 730050, China
BMC Public Health 2011, 11:477 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-477Published: 18 June 2011
The influence of rural-urban disparities in children's health on neonatal death in disadvantaged areas of China is poorly understood. In this study of rural and urban populations in Gansu province, a disadvantaged province of China, we describe the characteristics and mortality of newborn infants and evaluated rural-urban differences of neonatal death.
We analyzed all neonatal deaths in the data from the Surveillance System of Child Death in Gansu Province, China from 2004 to 2009. We calculated all-cause neonatal mortality rates (NMR) and cause-specific death rates for infants born to rural or urban mothers during 2004-09. Rural-urban classifications were determined based on the residence registry system of China. Chi-square tests were used to compare differences of infant characteristics and cause-specific deaths by rural-urban maternal residence.
Overall, NMR fell in both rural and urban populations during 2004-09. Average NMR for rural and urban populations was 17.8 and 7.5 per 1000 live births, respectively. For both rural and urban newborn infants, the four leading causes of death were birth asphyxia, preterm or low birth weight, congenital malformation, and pneumonia. Each cause-specific death rate was higher in rural infants than in urban infants. More rural than urban neonates died out of hospital or did not receive medical care before death.
Neonatal mortality declined dramatically both in urban and rural groups in Gansu province during 2004-09. However, profound disparities persisted between rural and urban populations. Strategies that address inequalities of accessibility and quality of health care are necessary to improve neonatal health in rural settings in China.