Evidence-based interventions to reduce mortality among preterm and low-birthweight neonates in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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  • Published on:
    Using early BCG vaccination to reduce mortality among low-birthweight neonates
    • Frederik Schaltz-Buchholzer, MD, PhD, postdoc Bandim Health Project, OPEN, Department of Clinical Research, Uni. Southern Denmark and Odense University Hospital, Denmark
    • Other Contributors:
      • Christine Stabell Benn, Professor, DMSc
      • Peter Aaby, Professor, DMSc

    In this systematic review and meta-analysis of evidence-based interventions to reduce mortality among preterm and low birthweight (LBW) neonates in low-income and middle-income countries, the implementation of four effective interventions in current WHO guidelines is encouraged: cord and skin cleansing with chlorhexidine, community kangaroo mother care, home-based new-born care and early Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination.

    Regarding BCG vaccination, the authors identified two randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of BCG-Denmark vs. no-BCG to LBW neonates and estimated that providing early BCG reduces neonatal mortality by 36% (14% to 52%). In addition to the two trials, a small RCT of BCG-Denmark to LBW neonates reported an effect estimate of 0.28 (0.06 to 1.37).[1] In a combined analysis of the three datasets, providing early BCG-Denmark to LBW neonates at hospital discharge was associated with a 38% (17% to 54%) reduction in neonatal mortality.[2] Also, a recent Ugandan RCT of BCG-Denmark vs. no-BCG[3] found BCG-Denmark associated with fewer early-life infections, particularly for LBW, further strengthening the argument for using BCG-Denmark as an evidence-based intervention for LBW neonates.

    Many manufacturers produce BCG world-wide, and the genetically different BCG strains might not have the same effects on all-cause mortality. For example, two RCTs conducted in India evaluated the effects of providing BCG-Russia vs. no-BCG to a cohort of neonates...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.