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Kandasamy Y, Somasundram P
Correspondence: Dr Y Kandasamy, email@example.com
Introduction The Orang Asli are the indigenous population in peninsular Malaysia and are in fact a diverse sub-ethnic group with different languages. Our aim was to collect data on Orang Asli newborns, from western and central Pahang, that were admitted to a general hospital with paediatric specialist services.
Methods This is a retrospective study of all Orang Asli neonates admitted to the Neonatal Unit in Temerloh Hospital over a one-year period (2003).
Results There were 65 Orang Asli admissions out of a total of 1,543 admissions to our Neonatal Unit. The average birth weight was 2,569 g. The commonest indication for admission was neonatal jaundice secondary to glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Ten babies were ventilated, seven for prematurity and three for mild-moderate perinatal asphyxia. There were three deaths: a baby with a lethal congenital abnormality, one with congenital rubella syndrome with cardiac failure, and a preterm baby delivered at 28 weeks gestation, with late neonatal sepsis.
Conclusion This is the first attempt to assess the health status of Orang Asli neonates in peninsular Malaysia. There are no published reports on the health status of this group of neonates. A larger multicentre study is needed to determine the exact health status of Malaysian Orang Asli newborns.
Keywords: aborigines, indigenous newborns, neonatal admissions, Orang Asli
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(10): 926-928