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Mother-infant RFID tagging to check lifting of newborns in hospitals

June 24, 2016 12:00 am | Updated October 18, 2016 01:06 pm IST - HYDERABAD:

Come July, it will not be a cakewalk for child-lifters on the prowl in government hospitals, who slip away with newborns under the very nose of security guards.

Whenever the news of a missing infant breaks out, apart from agony to the parents, it is a huge embarrassment for the hospital that fails to provide safety on its premises.

The Andhra Pradesh Health, Medical and Family Welfare department, in a novel initiative, has decided to use technology aided security measures for the safety of the newborns in government hospitals. In a first for any government hospital in the country, Guntur General Hospital will put synchronised Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tags on the mother and new born as a security measure.

When the baby is moved away from the mother beyond the specified access points, the units installed there with ‘antenna and transceiver’ would read the micro chip in the RFID tag and give out an alarm.

The RFID tag system was successfully demonstrated by the technology provider in Guntur General Hospital recently, and the demonstration of RFID mother-infant tagging was witnessed by NHM representatives as well as Director, Medical Education.

The system will be implemented after July 15 once the imported RFID tags will be provided in the second week of July.

The rising instances of child lifting and stealing of new born babies or mix up of infants in government hospitals teeming with patients and attendants becoming a bother, the Department did some research about the best practices and chose the RFID technology to check the menace, said Principal Secretary, Health and Medical, Poonam Malakondaiah. “We learnt that RFID mother-infant tagging is used effectively in many Scandinavian and European countries,” she added.

When the mother is admitted for delivery, she is given one of the two similarly programmed tags. The second one is kept either with the doctor conducting the delivery or with the nurse in-charge.

After the baby is born, the second tag is put on the baby. Apart from baby stealing, the RFID tag helps prevent swapping, another common occurrence.

General security

The RIFD tagging is made part of the general security contract with the vendor. “We engaged some experts and we have our own technical support group. Ministry of National Health Mission which is funding the initiative helped us with the Request for Proposal and we entered into a MoU with the service provider,” she said.

When the baby is moved from its mother beyond a point, the units would sound an alarm

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