The ‘108’ Emergency Ambulance Services of the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) is going to add 45 neo-natal ambulances across Tamil Nadu, including one for Coimbatore district. At present, there are 11 such ambulances, with only Dharmapuri having one in the Western region. The ambulances will begin arriving in batches over the next two months.

The neo-natal ambulance had a role in reducing the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Dharmapuri district. It will most likely be stationed at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, H. Mohan, Head (Operations), Western Region, GVK EMRI ‘108’ Ambulance Services, told The Hindu here on Monday.

It will be used for inter-facility transport (IFT) of new-borns in and around Coimbatore region. IFT refers to the shifting of a patient from a health centre to another one with the requisite equipment to treat the patient.

On many occasions, deterioration in the health of a new-born was found out only after the child became critical. The newborn was often wrapped in an un-sterilised cloth, which increased the risk of infection, while being taken to the hospital

“It is important to control the temperature and maintain a sterile environment while transporting a new-born, which also requires expert advice. The neo-natal ambulance staff will be trained by Tamil Nadu Hospital Service Project and Institute of Child Health at Egmore, Chennai, in performing such services,” he said. The staff would also be trained in handling birth asphyxia respiratory distress, congenital anomalies, seizures, jaundice, hypothermia (core body temperature dropping below the level required for normal metabolism and body functioning).

Mr. Mohan said that these ambulances would be equipped with state-of-the-art instruments and staffed with a specially-trained neo-natal emergency care physician, one of whom would be on call anytime of the day.

Besides having the equipment to monitor the sugar levels and provide uninterrupted care till the baby was admitted to a NICU, the ambulance would also have life-saving drugs. The equipment on board would include transport incubators, ventilators, and a multi-port infusion system.