Neonatal care in the city will soon get a fillip with efforts on to develop full-fledged specialised newborn care units (SNCUs) at three government hospitals.

At present, the Institute of Child Health (ICH), Government Stanley Hospital and Government Kilpauk Hospital have SNCUs.

This year, full-fledged SNCUs will come up at the Government Raja Sir Ramaswamy Mudaliar Lying-in Hospital, the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children.

S. Srinivasan, state coordinator, State Nodal Centre-National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), ICH, said: “The process for setting up the units has begun. Funds for civil modification work at the three hospitals have also been allotted. The Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Kasturba Gandhi Hospital are getting new buildings, while we will re-model a portion of RSRM Hospital.”

Dr. Srinivasan added that they were waiting for a final approval for manpower from the government.

While all six government hospitals already have neonatal care units, three of these will be upgraded now to develop them into SNCUs. “The upgradation includes modification of civil infrastructure to ensure the hospitals are on par with private hospitals, installing air-conditioning facilities, high-end equipment and 24-hour backup for power generation,” he added.

Equipment will include ventilators, continuous positive airway pressure machines, warmers, phototherapy units and syringe pumps for newborns, he explained.

In addition, exclusive manpower has been provided for the SNCUs with nine nurses dedicated for each unit. Security and housekeeping services are also made available for these units, he said. “A total of 44 SNCUs currently function across the State. These units have helped in reducing the State’s infant mortality rate to below 22 per thousand live births according to the Sample Registration Survey, 2012. The IMR was around 24 to 25 per thousand live births prior to 2009,” Dr. Srinivasan added.

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