Gender differences in survival among low birthweight newborns and infants in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review

Int Health. 2021 Aug 5:ihab044. doi: 10.1093/inthealth/ihab044. Online ahead of print.


In sub-Saharan Africa, low birthweight (LBW) accounts for three-quarters of under-five mortality and morbidity. However, gender differences in survival among LBW newborns and infants have not yet been systematically examined. This review examines gender differences in survival among LBW newborns and infants in the region. Ovid Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Scopus and Global Health databases were searched for qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies. Studies that presented information on differences in mortality or in morbidity between LBW male and female newborns or infants were eligible for inclusion. The database search yielded 4124 articles, of which 11 were eligible for inclusion. A narrative synthesis method was used to summarize the findings of the included studies. Seven studies reported more LBW male deaths, three studies reported more LBW female deaths and one study did not disaggregate the deaths by gender. Nine of the 11 studies that examined gender differences in mortality did not find significant evidence of gender differences in mortality among LBW newborns and infants. Likewise, no significant differences were found for gender differences in morbidity among this population. The review findings suggest a need for further research on this topic given the potential significance on child health and developmental goals.

PMID:34352090 | DOI:10.1093/inthealth/ihab044

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