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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Determinants of neonatal mortality in Pakistan: secondary analysis of Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2006–07

Yasir Bin Nisar* and Michael J Dibley

Author Affiliations

Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Room 128C, Edward Ford Building, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:663  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-663

Published: 28 June 2014



Globally 7.6 million children died in 2010 before reaching their fifth birthday and 40% of these deaths occur in the neonatal period. Pakistan has the third highest rate of neonatal mortality globally. To implement evidence-based interventions for the reduction of neonatal mortality, it is important to investigate factors associated with neonatal mortality. The aim of the current study was to identify determinants of neonatal mortality in Pakistan.


Data was derived from the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2006–07. All singleton live births between 2002 and 2006 were selected for the current analyses. Data was analysed by using STATA 13 and adjusted for the cluster sampling design. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard models were performed using step-wise backward elimination procedures to identify the determinants of neonatal mortality.


A total of 5,702 singleton live births in the last five years preceding the survey were selected. Multivariate analyses showed that living in Punjab province (Adj HR = 2.10, p = 0.015), belonging to the poorest household wealth index quintile (Adj HR = 1.95, p = 0.035), male infants (Adj HR = 1.57, p = 0.014), first rank baby (Adj HR = 1.59, p = 0.049), smaller than average birth size (Adj HR = 1.61, p = 0.023) and mothers with delivery complications (Adj HR = 1.93, p = 0.001) had significantly higher hazards of neonatal death in Pakistan.


To reduce neonatal mortality, there is a need to implement interventions focusing on antenatal care, effective referral system and retraining of healthcare providers to manage delivery complications and smaller than average birth size babies in resource poor communities of Pakistan.

Determinants; Neonatal mortality; Birth size; Delivery complications