South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC)
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Media Release

27 May 2015

Correction and Clarification Statement

A recent article published by the City Press, Sunday 24 May 2015 alleged that “more than 80 000 newborn babies died within just two years as a result of negligence and the poor quality of healthcare in public hospitals”. 

This figure is incorrect.  The Saving Babies 2012-2013 Report, estimated that there were 22 869 perinatal deaths reported.  This figure is the sum of 16 207 stillbirths and 6 568 early neonatal deaths respectively per year.  The correct figure over a period of two years should in fact be an estimated 45 738 over a period of two years as opposed to the figure of 80 000 published by the City Press.

Neonatal deaths refer to babies who die within 28 days after birth, whilst early neonatal deaths refers to babies who die within 7 days after. Perinatal deaths are the sum of stillbirths and early neonatal deaths.  According to the report most births occur at district hospitals, 60% of which are at primary level, 30% at regional level and 10% at tertiary and central hospitals; not surprisingly most deaths also occur at the primary level of care.

The report is based on the period 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2013. 

“In order to assess the quality of care we need to look at perinatal, stillbirth and neonatal death rates.  Then compare the rates between facilities of the same level of care.  Further, the poorer areas have higher mortalities that relates to their socio-economic circumstances and not the necessarily the quality of health care”.

Media Facilitation
Keletso Ratsela
Media Strategist
Mobile: +27 82 804 8883

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29 February, 2016
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