WHEN PUNE’s KEM hospital notched a 96% survival rate of babies weighing just one kilogram, the state moved fast and entered into a public-private partnership with doctors here to improve infant care. In just three years, the impact of training and mentoring them has been felt, especially at the largest government-run hospital at Nagpur, where a strict protocol like separate stethoscopes for babies and others has helped in bringing down number of infant deaths from 168 in 2012 to 66 in 2015.
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At the Special Newborn Care Unit (SNCU) at Daga Women’s government hospital, separate stethoscopes are a must for each newborn. Among other guidelines being followed include colour coding of bedsheets, no visitors allowed except during visiting hours, washing hands and sterilised feeding gowns with each mother’s name labelled on it, said Dr Vinita Jain, in-charge of the 42-bed SNCU at Daga Women’s government hospital at Nagpur.
With 15,000 deliveries every year, the government facility, however, lost 168 babies to pneumonia, septicemia, pre-term birth and others in 2012-13. In 2013-14, a total of 133 babies died at this hospital while in 2014-15 a total of 138 babies died. The common causes for the babies’ death is birth asphyxia, respiratory distress syndrome, septicemia, prematurity and congenital anomalies. For the first time now, a promising trend has been observed as from April 2015 till February, a total of 66 infant deaths have been registered, Dr CP Jaiswal, State Child Health and Nutrition Consultant told The Indian Express. “Earlier we used to refer the babies to other hospitals for surgical interventions but that rate has decreased from 18.67% in 2011-12 to 8.8% in 2015 (April to October).” The implementation of simple, practical measures helped control the rate of infection and mortality can be reduced, Jaiswal said.
34 state neonatal care units
Newborns are at risk of acquiring infections and prevention strategies are of paramount importance in the SNCU, said Sujata Saunik, state principal secretary (Health). Dr Satish Pawar, state Director of Health said that 34 SNCUs have been set up and 12 will be upgraded with ventilator facility.