Action-oriented colour-coded foot length calliper for primary healthcare workers as a proxy for birth weight & gestational period.Indian J Med Res 2017; 145(3):347-352IJ
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES
Foot length of the newborn has a good correlation with the birth weight and is recommended to be used as a proxy measure. There can be variations in the measurement of foot length. A study was, therefore, carried out to develop a foot length calliper for accurate foot length measurement and to find cut-off values for birth weight and gestational age groups to be used by primary healthcare workers.
This study was undertaken on 645 apparently healthy newborn infants with known gestational age. Nude birth weight was taken within 24 h of birth on a standard electronic weighing machine. A foot length calliper was developed. Correlation between foot length and birth weight as well as gestational age was calculated. Correctness of cut-off values was tested using another set of 133 observations on the apparently healthy newborns. Action-oriented colour coding was done to make it easy for primary healthcare workers to use it.
There was a significant correlation of foot length with birth weight (r=0.75) and gestational age (r=0.63). Cut-off values for birth weight groups were 6.1, 6.8 and 7.3 cm and for gestational age of 6.1, 6.8 and 7.0 cm. Correctness of these cut-off values ranged between 77.1 and 95.7 per cent for birth weight and 60-93.3 per cent for gestational age. Considering 2.5 kg as cut-off between normal birth weight and low birth weight (LBW), cut-off values of 6.1, 6.8 and 7.3 were chosen. Action-oriented colour coding was done by superimposing the colours on the scale of the calliper, green indicating home care, yellow indicating supervised home care, orange indicating care at newborn care units at primary health centres and red indicating Neonatal Intensive Care Unit care for infants.
INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS
A simple device was developed so that the primary health care workers and trained Accredited Social Health Activist workers can identify the risk of LBW in the absence of accurate weighing facilities and decide on the type of care needed by the newborn and take action accordingly.