Maternity centres to get special units for sick babies

Units meant to stabilise unwell newborns will have four beds and pulse oximeters each

August 19, 2013 06:10 am | Updated 08:19 am IST - CHENNAI:

The Chennai Corporation’s maternity centres will soon have special facilities to stabilise newborns who are unwell.

Funds have been sanctioned for stabilisation units at five of the 16 maternity centres, and work has already begun at the Saidapet centre.

Corporation officials said the plan was to set up units at all centres in a phased manner. The proposal is being implemented by the State government based on guidelines issued under the National Rural Health Mission.

Each air-conditioned stabilisation unit will have four beds, two photo-therapy units and pulse oximeters.

“The beds are actually warmers that will maintain the infant at the right temperature,” explained S. Srinivasan, State nodal officer for neonatal facilities, Institute of Child Health (ICH). The photo-therapy units will treat babies born with jaundice.

On an average, health department officials estimate that three of every 100 babies born face problems at birth. Currently, infants who show signs of distress are referred to Government Children’s Hospital, to which the ICH is attached, a health department official at the Corporation said.

Some of the commonest problems among newborns are hypothermia, respiratory problems and jaundice – all of which require minimal intervention and can be treated by nurses trained in neonatal care, Dr. Srinivasan said.

Each unit will have three nurses trained to handle minor illnesses, resuscitate the infant and start IV fluids. This will reduce the load at the bigger maternity hospitals, Dr. Srinivasan said.

“Sometimes it takes more than two hours for the baby to be brought to a better facility. The delay could mean more complications. We want to reduce that as every minute counts,” Dr. Srinivasan added.

Saidapet is a favourite, as for two consecutive terms, this assembly constituency has produced Mayors. Between 2006 and 2011, it was represented by M. Subramanian and now Saidai Doraisamy hails from the locality.

According to the health department, inspections were held at various maternity centres recently. Other centres that will receive the newborn stabilisation units include the centres in Adyar, Ayanavaram, Pulianthope and Vadapalani.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.