Evaluation of infant mortality before and during COVID-19 pandemic in a district of Istanbul

Çavdar S., Farimaz A. Z. T., Küçükali H., Palteki A. S., Ataç Ö., Hayran O. E.

Turkish Journal of Public Health, vol.21, no.3, pp.349-360, 2023 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.20518/tjph.1274068
  • Journal Name: Turkish Journal of Public Health
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.349-360
  • Keywords: COVID-19, Infant Mortality, Maternal-Child Health Services, Prenatal Care, Routinely Collected Health Data
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate infant mortality in 2019 and 2020 years at the local level, considering the beginning of the pandemic period. Methods: The population of this cross-sectional study are infants registered in a district of Istanbul in 2019 and 2020. Infant mortality rates before and during the COVID-19 pandemic were calculated. Antenatal healthcare and delivery practices in addition to the underlying risk factors for infant deaths were identified and compared by the year of mortality. Results: Infant mortality rates were calculated as 4.8 and 5.1; neonatal mortality rates were 3.9 and 2.7; postneo-natal mortality rates were 0.9 and 2.4 per thousand live births, respectively by the years. No statistically significant difference was found between maternal and infant characteristics of the two years. The number of pregnancy fol-low-up records was significantly higher for the infants that died in 2020 compared to 2019. Yet, there wasn’t any difference in number of prenatal physician visits. Conclusion: Increase in the infant mortality rate during the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic period is due to postneonatal mortality. The increase in postneonatal mortality is related to deaths caused by infections. This should be investigated with the characteristics of infants and healthcare accessibility features. No disruption was identified in access to antenatal care in cases of infant mortality during the research period. This continuity in health services must be preserved. Our experience during the study revealed a room for improvement in data access on always-important public health indicators for evidence-based decision-making.