The Haryana Government has announced the setting up of 22 sick newborn care units in 18 districts and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Neonatology Forum for training doctors and nurses working in these facilities.

According to an official release, the State health department has launched the programme to improve child health services and reduce neonatal, infant and child mortality. The sample research system of the last census, infant mortality rate in Haryana was 42 per 1000 live births, which equalled the national average. The neonatal mortality rate was 28 per 1000 live births accounting for 66 per cent of the total IMR in the State. The 22 newly proposed SNCUs for neonatal care have been equipped with open care radiant warmers, phototherapy units, resuscitators and oxygen concentrators. The doctors and nurses working in SNCUs have been trained at various hospitals like PGIMER, Chandigarh, PGIMS, Rohtak, Safadarjung Hospital, Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalay, Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and Maulana Azad Medical College and Kasturba Hospital, New Delhi.

In the current year, 16,581 newborn children were admitted to SNCUs, of which 7959 were found with low birth weight. About 84 per cent of these deliveries were conducted in government medical facilities where around 50 per cent in-born and 90 per cent out-born babies were critically ill. Of the 7,959 low birth weight babies admitted, two per cent weighed less than 1000 grams and faced highest risk of mortality. These babies were admitted for 30-40 days on an average in the SNCU with all expenses met under the revised guidelines under the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) from the Union government allowing free treatment for sick neonates and infants up to one year of age.

The release pointed out that every year, four million newborn babies die in the first month of their lives. India accounted for 25-30 per cent neonatal deaths in the world, where nearly 45 per cent babies died within the first two days of birth.