Telangana government to launch neonatal ambulance service to prevent infant deaths

Updated - June 26, 2023 11:36 am IST

Published - June 25, 2023 08:15 pm IST - HYDERABAD

In a determined move to achieve a single-digit infant mortality rate (IMR), the Telangana government has announced the launch of statewide neonatal ambulance service. The initiative aims at ensuring swift and safe transportation of premature and sick infants.

The neonatal ambulances will be equipped with state-of-the-art mobile intensive care incubators. These incubators will feature advanced technologies such as mechanical ventilators, infusion pumps and physiological monitors, all engineered to operate seamlessly in a mobile environment.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior health official said the government plans to introduce 33 neonatal ambulances—one for each district. The ambitious project, set for launch by August 15, carries a yearly budget of approximately ₹8.07 crore. The responsibility of supplying and operating the ambulances has been entrusted to GVK Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI), following a tender process.

Other medical equipment in the neonatal ambulances include ventilators, two d-type cylinders with regulators, flow meters, humidifiers, monitors with pulse oximeters, syringe pumps boasting extended battery life and suction apparatus.

To ensure optimal care and support during transportation, each ambulance will have a dedicated neonatal emergency medical technician (EMT) on board. These EMTs will undergo rigorous training for 45 days, as per an agreement between the government and EMRI.

Strides towards goal

Telangana has made significant strides in reducing neonatal mortality rates over the years. The Neonatal Mortality Rate in the State decreased from 25 in 2014 to 15 in 2022, and it is below the national average of 20. Furthermore, the Under-5 mortality rate dropped from 41 in 2014 to 23 in 2022, while the country’s average stands at 32. With the introduction of neonatal ambulances, the State aims to further lower the mortality rate, aligning with the target set by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Self Development Goals (SDG).

The SDG target envisions a world where preventable deaths of newborns and children under the age of five are eradicated by 2030. Countries are urged to reduce neonatal mortality to as low as 12 per 1,000 live births and achieve an Under-5 mortality rate as low as 25 per 1,000 live births.

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