Cameras installed in neonatal unit in Govt. Kilpauk hospital

In a major push to newborn care in the State, the Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMCH) has installed cameras in its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The six cameras will ensure no baby dies for want of attention, said head of paediatrics department, R. Narayana Babu. “Such facilities are available in hospitals abroad where an ailing newborn gets round-the-clock attention. Neonatal mortality rate in our hospital is around 15 per 1,000 live births, far below the average for the State,” he said.

The NICU is divided into three cabins offering varying levels of care depending on babys’ requirements. Six cots are monitored by a camera each. The system picks up data from multipara monitors near the baby cots and transmits them to a central console.

The data and the image of the baby can be viewed in the neighbouring glass cabin. If a baby’s condition worsens, an alarm goes off alerting nurses and doctors.

“It is human tendency to fall asleep. Besides, though nurses do the rounds of the beds, they may not realise which baby is very sick and needs focused attention. The monitors will help them identify a sick baby immediately,” Dr. Babu said. In the event of an untoward incident, three to five days’ recorded data can be retrieved and studied. It also helps doctors to use it as research tool.

Such constant monitoring also addresses the fears of parents. Mothers are not allowed inside the NICU cabins. They are given disposable plastic bottles to extract milk. The nurses feed babies using a sterilised paladai (a traditional container).

After a sick baby stabilises, it is transferred to the second-level care where it may not need ventilator, oxygen or warmer support. Here the mother is allowed to visit once a day. When the baby improves further, it is moved to the third cabin where the mother can visit and feed her baby regularly.

The cameras were installed at a cost of Rs. 10 lakh and the entire facility cost around Rs. 80 lakh. A family may have to spend as much as Rs. 5 lakh for neonatal care in private hospitals, Dr. Babu said.

Hospital dean P. Ramakrishnan said, “Earlier we used to rent ventilators for Rs. 1,000 each a day. Now, under the insurance scheme, we have bought seven ventilators for Rs. 40 lakh.”

More In: Chennai | News