First such ambulance at Dharmapuri makes a significant contribution to reduce infant mortality rate

The campaign to prevent infant deaths in the Western districts of the State has received a major boost with the ‘108’ Emergency Ambulance Services of the GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) planning to introduce neo natal ambulances in all the districts in the region.

The first such ambulance introduced recently in Dharmapuri is fast making a significant impact in reducing the Infant Mortality Rate in the district, according to the operators of the service.

Staffed by specially trained neonatal emergency medical technicians (N-EMT) and equipped with incubators, ventilator, pulse-oxy meter, suction apparatus, trans-illuminator, surfactants, and fresh frozen plasma, the neo-natal ambulance has handled 168 emergencies in just over four months alone.

More than 95 per cent of such cases handled by the neonatal ambulance were life-saving emergencies as it only transported infants that were less than 28 days old or under-weight new-borns, H. Mohan, Regional Manager (Western Region), GVK EMRI-108 Ambulance Services, told The Hindu here on Friday.

This idea was mooted by the Tamil Nadu Hospital Service Project and Institute of Child Health (ICH) at Egmore, Chennai. This ambulance was not staffed by the regular EMTs of 108 as handling infants required specific training.

The N-EMTs have undergone a three-month training in intensive neonatal emergency handing at the ICH and were updated on new practices every six months. Giving a breakup, Mr. Mohan said that neonatal ambulance handled 40 cases in October, when it was launched in Dharmapuri, 51 in November, 54 in December and 23 in January (till 15). The ambulance had been stationed at the Dharmapuri Government Hospital where the ambulance staff would be working in the neonatal department. They would undergo constant training.

At present, seven such ambulances are operated by the 108 services in Tamil Nadu: three at Chennai and one each at Chengelpet, Cuddalore, Madurai, and Dharmapuri.

The Health Department was planning to expand this speciality to all the 32 districts of the State shortly.


Deputy Director of Health Services R. Damodharan informed that a similar ambulance has been sanctioned to Coimbatore.

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