Sudden infant death syndrome in the Middle East: An exploration of the literature on rates, risk factors, high risk groups and intervention programs
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Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a problem world-wide. Since it was identified; Western nations have implemented extensive SIDS education campaigns to reduce SIDS risk which have resulted in dramatically decreasing SIDS death rates. In contrast, there is little information available about the impact of SIDS in Middle East (ME) countries where high infant mortality is common. STo investigate SIDS incidence rates across various ME countries, ascertain specific SIDS risk factors relevant to ME populations, categorise high risk groups and identify SIDS intervention programs in the ME. A structured literature review was performed. A total of 10,509 study were identified with 11 proving to be most relevant to the research purpose. The SIDS incidence rates data available in ME countries is extremely limited with only five studies addressing SIDS rates in the ME. For a range of reasons, many infant deaths are registered as "cause unknown" with no associated autopsy report or other details. Additionally, limitations in the study designs restrict the ability to accurately estimate incidence rates from the research projects reported. The most significant risk factor for SIDS in ME countries identified in the literature is the high incidence of smoking, resulting from less political restrictions on smoking at home and public settings. Targeted public health SIDS education programs need to be developed and promoted in high risk ME countries with a specific focus on infant care practices, lifestyle and general living conditions.
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