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Neonatal Mortality Rate

Indicator Phrasing

the number of neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: the number of neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births

French: le nombre de décès néonatals pour 1 000 naissances vivantes

Portuguese: número de nados-mortos por 1000 nados-vivos

Czech: počet novorozeneckých úmrtí na 1,000 všech živě narozených dětí

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the number of newborns dying during the first 28 days of life per 1,000 live births. It is a key impact indicator for newborn care interventions.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Neonatal mortality rate (NMR) is calculated either by using official health statistics or by conducting household surveys. If health statistics are not available or are of questionable reliability, use the following guidance to measure NMR based on household surveys:


1) Design a representative sample of households which represent the population for which you want to assess NMR.



2) Conduct individual interviews with the target households’ representatives, asking:

Q1: To how many girls have you given birth?

A1: [enter the number]


Q2: To how many boys have you given birth?

A2: [enter the number]


Q3: Have you ever given birth to a boy or girl who was born alive but later died?

A3: yes / no


If the answer is NO, probe:


Q4: Have you delivered any baby who cried or showed signs of life but did not survive?

A4: yes / no


(ask the following questions only if one of the previous two answers is YES)


Q5: How many of the girls you delivered have died?

A5: [enter number]


Q6: How old was the girl(s) who died?

A6: _

1) 1st girl who died: …….    days    ……. months    ……. years

2) 2nd girl who died: …….     days…….     months…….     years (cross this answer if only one girl died)


Q7: How many of the boys you delivered have died?

A7: [enter number]


Q8: How old was the boy(s) who died?

A8: _

1) 1st boy who died: ……. days   ……. months    ……. years

2) 2nd boy who died: ……. days    ……. months    ……. years (cross this answer if only one boy died)



3) Calculate the total number of children born. Calculate the total number of children who died within the first 28 days of their life (i.e. the neonatal deaths).



4) To calculate the indicator’s value, multiply the number of children who died within the first 28 days by 1,000. Divide the result by the total number of children born.

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by gender, place of delivery (home, health centre, hospital), location (rural/ urban) and socioeconomic characteristics (wealth quintile, level of education).

Important Comments

1) NMR can also be measured for a specific reference period, for example, the past five years (the period can reflect the duration of your intervention that aimed to reduce NMR). If you decide to do so, ensure that all questions are asking for the given time period only. When determining the child’s age, always ask for official documentation specifying the child’s age (e.g. birth certificate) or if not available, use a Local Events Calendar.


2) This indicator relies on an accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the data collectors should always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate, vaccination card or another document; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents (and since they can include mistakes), it is essential that your data collectors are able to verify the child’s age by using local events calendars. Read FAO’s Guidelines (see below) to learn how to prepare local events calendars and how to train data collectors in their correct use.


3) Asking about child death is a sensitive topic – discuss and agree with the data collectors on what they will do to gain the required information in as sensitive a manner as possible.

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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