Background Studying the causes of hospitalisation is useful to understand the profile of illness and identify the most effective interventions. Guinea-Bissau was projected to reduce the under-5 mortality rate from 200 to 80/1000 live births (2005–2015); and the causes of the deaths were attributed: neonatal, pneumonia, malaria and diarrhea. In 2014 the mortality rate was 55/1000 live births in Guinea-Bissau, and malaria, diarrhea and respiratory infection were the main causes of illness. The present study aims to describe the main causes of hospitalisation and death in children under 5 years in the paediatric clinic of the ‘Simão Mendes’ National Hospital.
Method Descriptive and retrospective study, with search of data from health care records. STATA and Microsoft Excel programmes were used for data analysis and cleaning. Cases defined as: children under 5 years of age, diagnosed from 2015 to 2017.
Results In 17,250 cases of hospitalisation, the overall lethality rate for 2015–2017 was calculated at 7.5%. There was an increase in the lethality rate (10.8%) in 2017. Among the main causes of hospitalisation were gastrointestinal infection (26.9%), malaria (23%), respiratory infection (17.6%) and septicaemia (16.1%). Septicaemia is the disease with the highest lethality rate during these three years (18%), the case fatality rate due to gastrointestinal infection in 2017 (7.7%) was double compared with 2015 and 2016; 19% of deaths occured for those who lived far from hospital (>40 km).
Conclusion 2017 had fewer hospitalisation cases and is the year with the highest lethality rate. Gastrointestinal infection and malaria were the main causes of hospitalisation. The rate of lethality from diarrhoea and septicaemia has increased significantly and with worse outcome in those living far from Bissau.
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