Website review

A systematic review of neonatal health interventions in humanitarian settings – World

  1. Marianne Rodo 1,

  2. Diane Duclos 1,

  3. Jocelyn DeJong 2,

  4. Chaza Akik 3,

  5. Neha S Singh 1

  6. Correspondence to Dr. Neha S Singh; [email protected]


Background Nearly half of deaths of children under 5 occur during the neonatal period and most are preventable with quality neonatal care. The already vulnerable condition of newborns is exacerbated in humanitarian settings. This review aims to assess the current evidence of interventions provided in these settings, identify strategies that increase their use and effects on health outcomes in order to inform actors involved in the field and guide future research.

Methods Peer-reviewed and gray literature search of four databases and relevant websites, for studies published between 1990 and November 15, 2021. Search terms were related to newborns, humanitarian settings, countries low- and middle-income and neonatal health interventions. Quality appraisal using critical appraisal tools appropriate to the study design was performed. Data were extracted and analyzed using a narrative synthesis approach.

Results A total of 35 articles were included in this review, 33 peer reviewed and 2 gray literature publications. Reported essential newborn care (ENC) interventions varied across studies and only three used the Newborn Health in Humanitarian Settings: Field Guide as a guidance document. The most commonly reported ENC interventions were thermal care and feeding support, while delayed cord clamping and vitamin K administration were the least important. Training health care workers was the most frequently reported strategy for increasing utilization. Community interventions, financial incentives and the provision of supplies and equipment were also reported.

Conclusion There is insufficient evidence documenting the reality of newborn care in humanitarian settings in low- and middle-income countries. There is a need to improve reporting of these interventions, including where there are gaps in service delivery. More evidence is needed on the strategies used to increase their use and the effect on health outcomes.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020199639.

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