Little is known about pregnancy outcomes among the approximately 11
million refugees worldwide, 25% of whom are women of reproductive age.
To estimate incidence of and determine risk factors for poor pregnancy
outcomes and to calculate the contribution of mortality from neonatal and
maternal deaths to overall mortality in a refugee camp.
Cross-sectional review of records and survey, conducted in February
and March 1998.
Mtendeli refugee camp, Tanzania.
For the overall assessment, 664 Burundi women who had a pregnancy outcome
during a recent 5-month period (September 1, 1997–January 31, 1998)
and their 679 infants; 538 women (81%) completed the survey.
Main Outcome Measures
Incidence of fetal death (fetus born ≥500 g or ≥22 weeks' gestation
with no signs of life), low birth weight (<2500 g), neonatal death (death
<28 days of life), and maternal death (deaths during or within 42 days
of pregnancy from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its
The fetal death rate was 45.6 per 1000 births, the neonatal mortality
rate was 29.3 per 1000 live births, and 22.4% of all live births were low
birth weight. Compared with women without poor pregnancy outcome, those with
poor pregnancy outcome were more likely to report prior high socioeconomic
status (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-2.4),
having a first or second pregnancy (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.4-3.4), and having
3 or more episodes of malaria during pregnancy (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.4-3.1).
Neonatal and maternal deaths accounted for 16% of all deaths during the period
Poor pregnancy outcomes were common in this refugee setting, and neonatal
and maternal deaths, 2 important components of reproductive health–related
deaths, contributed substantially to overall mortality.