There are 8 neonatal ambulances in the State and 29 more will be added to the fleet soon

Neonatal ambulances in the city have helped more than 2,000 newborns since their inception in 2011.

Chennai has three exclusive ambulances for newborns (aged between one and 29 days of birth) at the Institute of Child Health (ICH), Egmore, Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital (KGH) for Women and Children, Triplicane, and Government Raja Sir Ramasamy Mudaliar (RSRM) Lying-in Hospital, Royapuram.

Till date, the ambulances have helped 2,301 newborns. While the ICH ambulance has reached out to 1,083 newborns, those at KGH and RSRM account for 675 and 543 babies respectively, according to officials of the 108 ambulance.

“The neonatal ambulance is a boon for newborns. The usage of the service can be improved if more people are aware of it,” said S. Srinivasan, State coordinator, National Rural Health Mission.

He said neonatal fatalities during transportation accounted for 5 to 6 per cent of deaths in the country.

“This is because newborns in need of urgent medical care did not receive treatment while being transported to health centres by car or bus. The ambulances, on the other hand, have facilities to take care of the temperature, oxygen, pulse and sugar level of babies,” he said.

Babies born prematurely (below 36 weeks), those with low birth weight (below 1.8 kg), respiratory distress, cardiac problems (blue babies), severe jaundice, asphyxia, malformations and those born to diabetic mothers need immediate medical care and ought to be shifted to a higher medical centre, said Dr. Srinivasan.

There are eight neonatal ambulances in the State, and 29 more will be added to the fleet soon, he said.

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