IN the last 50 days, as coronavirus cases rose in the state, Pimpri-Chinchwad has recorded the birth of over 3,000 babies. While families are facing the challenge of protecting the newborns as children under 10 are in the high-risk group, some hospitals are struggling to get personal protective equipment (PPE) for their staff, who handle normal and cesarean deliveries.
In March, nearly 200 hospitals reported 2,000 deliveries, said PCMC Additional Health Chief Pavan Salve. “In the next 20 days, the figure crossed the 3,000 mark,” he said. Salve said hospitals have been asked to properly guide and inform the families about protecting the baby and the mother.
While the Indian Council for Medical Research has made it mandatory for hospital staff to wear PPE suits during deliveries, some of the hospitals in Pimpri-Chinchwad seem to be struggling to get the suits as they are unavailable.
“We have shared the guidelines regarding pregnant women and newborns with all the hospitals. PPE suits are mandatory during deliveries to check the spread of the virus,” said Salve.
Dr Rajendra Wable, dean of YCM Hospital and Medical College, said during the initial days of March, the hospital did not have PPE suits. “We performed most deliveries with surgical gowns. The gown and masks offer enough protection from catching infection…,” he said.
Dr Wable said though they have shifted the delivery section to Dr D Y Patil Hospital, they are still performing emergency deliveries on pregnant women.
Dr J S Bhavalkar, dean of Dr DY Patil Hospital and Medical College, said, “Every day, at least 20 deliveries are taking place. PPE suits are a must during deliveries. We are ensuring that our medical team wears the protective gear during every delivery. Though we are struggling to get PPE suits, so far, we have managed them from different sources. We hope to get enough stock soon…”
Rekha Dubey, CEO of Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Chinchwad, said newborn and infants, due to their low immunity, can be at higher risk for COVID-19.
“In the first case, all pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 coming in for delivery are tested and all standard precautions as per CDC and WHO guidelines are exercised during their admission and delivery process if they test positive. A separate birthing unit has been kept ready. Also, a separate neonatal team of doctors and nurses with full PPE are attending the delivery. This delivery is classified as high-risk and a separate SoP is in place for the immediate resuscitation and ongoing specialised care of the newborn post-delivery based on established guidelines. A separate isolation area in the nursery and NICU has been designated for ongoing care. The mother and baby are isolated from others in the hospital,”she said.
Dr Tatyarao Lahane, former dean of JJ Hospital, Mumbai, who has been asked to guide Sassoon Hospital doctors on how to handle coronavirus patients, said, “A pregnant woman who has tested positive for COVID-19 should always wear a mask. If she has delivered a baby, the baby should be breastfed by taking milk in a bottle…There is no need for a mask for the baby. So far, there has been no case of a baby born positive with COVID-19.”
Dr Lahane said PPE suits are compulsory. “But if the hospitals don’t have PPE, the surgery gowns as protection will do… but the medical staff should wear masks, goggles and gloves during deliveries,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines