2018 saw spike in infant deaths linked to congenital anomalies, Seychelles' health minister says
Newborn baby in hospital nursery (Wikimedia) Photo License: (CC BY-SA 3.0)
(Seychelles News Agency) - An increase in the death rate among infants in Seychelles is highly linked to congenital anomalies, said the health minister on Tuesday.
Responding to a question from National Assembly member Jean Francois Ferrari, Minister Jean-Paul Adam said that among 817 deaths registered at the Seychelles Hospital in 2018, 31 were the deaths of babies.
“When looking at the figures for 2018, we can note that this is a substantial increase from cases recorded in 2017 (18 deaths registered). The ministry has asked different health professionals to analyse the different reasons why these deaths happened,” said Adam.
Since the start of 2019, only two cases have been recorded. Adam said that 32 percent of deaths among babies is linked to congenital anomalies, a figure which the minister said is high when compared to international norms.
“In the case of Seychelles, we can see that there is an increase in the number of deaths from congenital defects are partly linked to problems that arise due to lifestyles choices and non-communicable diseases,” said Adam.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), congenital anomalies can be defined as structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified before birth, at birth or later in life. Congenital anomalies can be caused by single gene defects, chromosomal disorders, multifactorial inheritance, environmental teratogens and micronutrient deficiencies.
Adam added that these deaths are “also at times linked to substance abuse, interference during pregnancy, prematurity, and genetic factors.”
WHO said that the most common, severe congenital anomalies are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome.
Although congenital anomalies may be the result of one or more genetic, infectious, nutritional or environmental factor, it is often difficult to identify the exact causes. Some congenital anomalies can be prevented. Vaccination, adequate intake of folic acid or iodine through fortification of staple foods or supplementation, and adequate antenatal care are just three examples of prevention methods.