Background: In Myanmar, approximately half of all neonatal hospital admissions are for hyperbilirubinaemia, and tertiary facilities report high rates of Exchange Transfusion (ET). The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program in reducing ET, separately of inborn and outborn neonates. Methods: The study was conducted in the Neonatal Care Units of four national tertiary hospitals: two exclusively treating inborn neonates, and two solely for outborn neonates. Prior to intervention, no high intensity phototherapy was available in these units. Intervention in late November 2011 comprised, for each hospital, provision of two high intensity LED phototherapy machines, a photo radiometer, and training of personnel. Hospital-specific data were assessed as Relative Risk (RR) ratios comparing ET rates pre- and post-intervention, and individual hospital results were pooled when appropriate. Results: In 2011, there were 118 ETs among inborn neonates and 140 ETs among outborn neonates. The ET rate was unchanged at Inborn Hospital A (RR = 1.07; 95 % CI: 0.80–1.43; p = 0.67), and reduced by 69 % at Inborn Hospital B (RR = 0.31; 95 % CI: 0.17–0.57; p < 0.0001). For outborn neonates, the pooled estimate indicated that ET rates reduced by 33 % post-intervention (RRMH = 0.67; 95 % CI: 0.52–0.87; p = 0.002); heterogeneity was not a problem. Conclusion: Together with a photoradiometer and education, intensive phototherapy can significantly reduce the ET rate. Inborn Hospital A had four times as many admissions for jaundice as Inborn Hospital B, and did not reduce ET until it received additional high intensity machines. The results highlight the importance of providing enough intensive phototherapy units to treat all neonates requiring high intensity treatment for a full course.
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- neonatal jaundice
- exchange transfusion