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BACKGROUND: Audit of facility-based care provided to small and sick newborns is a quality improvement initiative that helps to identify the modifiable gaps in newborn care (BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 14: 280, 2014). The aim of this work was to identify literature on modifiable factors in the care of newborns in the newborn units in health facilities in low-middle-income countries (LMICs). We also set out to design a measure of the quality of the perinatal and newborn audit process. METHODS: The scoping review was conducted using the methodology outlined by Arksey and O'Malley and refined by Levac et al, (Implement Sci 5:1-9, 2010). We reported our results using the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. We identified seven factors to ensure a successful audit process based on World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations which we subsequently used to develop a quality of audit process score. DATA SOURCES: We conducted a structured search using PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, LILACS, POPLINE and African Index Medicus. STUDY SELECTION: Studies published in English between 1965 and December 2019 focusing on the identification of modifiable factors through clinical or mortality audits in newborn care in health facilities from LMICs. DATA EXTRACTION: We extracted data on the study characteristics, modifiable factors and quality of audit process indicators. RESULTS: A total of six articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these, four were mortality audit studies and two were clinical audit studies that we used to assess the quality of the audit process. None of the studies were well conducted, two were moderately well conducted, and four were poorly conducted. The modifiable factors were divided into three time periods along the continuum of newborn care. The period of newborn unit care had the highest number of modifiable factors, and in each period, the health worker related modifiable factors were the most dominant. CONCLUSION: Based on the significant number of modifiable factors in the newborn unit, a neonatal audit tool is essential to act as a structured guide for auditing newborn unit care in LMICs. The quality of audit process guide is a useful method of ensuring high quality audits in health facilities.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Pediatr

Publication Date





Audit process, Clinical, Maternal, Modifiable factors, Mortality, Newborn, Perinatal, Clinical Audit, Developing Countries, Female, Hospitals, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Parturition, Poverty, Pregnancy