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Resuscitation of preterm infants in the Philippines: a national survey of resources and practice
  1. Dean Hayden1,2,
  2. Maria Esterlita Villanueva-Uy3,
  3. Maria Katrina Mendoza4,
  4. Dominic Wilkinson1,5
  1. 1 Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  3. 3 Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute of Health, Manila, Philippines
  4. 4 Kangaroo Mother Care Foundation, Manila, Philippines
  5. 5 John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr. Dominic Wilkinson, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK; dominic.wilkinson{at}


Objective There is a high incidence of preterm birth in low-income and middle-income countries where healthcare resources are often limited and may influence decision making. We aimed to explore the interplay between resource limitations and resuscitation practices for extremely preterm infants (EPIs) in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) across the Philippines.

Methods We conducted a national survey of NICUs in the Philippines. Institutions were classified according to sector (private/public), region and level. Respondents were asked about unit capacity, availability of ventilators and surfactant, resuscitation practices and estimated survival rates for EPIs of different gestational ages.

Results Respondents from 103/228 hospitals completed the survey (response rate 45%). Public hospitals reported more commonly experiencing shortages of ventilators than private hospitals (85%vs23%, p<0.001). Surfactant was more likely to be available in city hospitals than regional/district hospitals (p<0.05) and in hospitals classified as Level III/IV than I/II (p<0.05). The financial capacity of parents was a major factor influencing treatment options. Survival rates for EPIs were estimated to be higher in private than public institutions. Resuscitation practice varied; active treatment was generally considered optional for EPIs from 25 weeks’ gestation and usually provided after 27–28 weeks’ gestation.

Conclusion Our survey revealed considerable disparities in NICU resource availability between different types of hospitals in the Philippines. Variation was observed between hospitals as to when resuscitation would be provided for EPIs. National guidelines may generate greater consistency of care yet would need to reflect the variable context for decisions in the Philippines.

  • neonatology
  • resuscitation
  • intensive care
  • paediatric practice

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  • Contributors DH designed the survey, collected and analysed data, drafted the initial manuscript and reviewed and revised the manuscript. MEV-U contributed to the design of the survey and helped to evaluate, revise and edit the manuscript. MKM assisted with the collection of data and helped to evaluate, revise and edit the manuscript. DW conceived of the study, supervised and coordinated the design of the study and helped to evaluate, revise and edit the manuscript.

  • Funding DW was supported for this work by a grant from the Wellcome trust WT106587/Z/14/Z.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the University of the Philippines Ethical Review Board (UPMREB2017-335-01) and the University of Oxford Research Ethics Committee (R51548/RE001).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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