Newborn care unit at MKCG lacks infrastructure

Berhampur (Odisha): The much-hyped special newborn care unit (SNCU) at MKCG Medical College and Hospital here is functioning without ventilators, intensive care units (ICU) and some other necessary equipments, even though it handles on an average 50 newborns daily.

Machines like bubble CPAP, ABG, portable x-ray machines along with the central oxygen supply for the SNCU are essential to take care of the newborns in the unit. "We are facing difficulty in managing serious cases, generally referred to the hospital," said a senior doctor.

The death of the nine newborn babies at VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla on Saturday has also exposed the lack of infrastructure facilities in over one-year-old SNCU at MKCG Medical College and Hospital, the biggest referral hospital in southern Odisha.

The delivered mothers are seen sleeping on the floor outside the SNCU, while two to three babies are seen lying in the small bed. "We don`t have sufficient beds for mothers," said medical college superintendent A K Behera.

"Since the number of admission in the SNCU are much higher than the number of beds and several sick newborns are being referred from different areas, we have written to the Director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Odisha for upgradation of the existing SNCU and sanctioning necessary equipment," said head of pediatrics department N N Soren.

Some other equipment necessary for the SNCU included ten numbers of pulse oxymeters, four baby laryngoscope, ten numbers of infusion pumps and four bumble CPAP machines, besides at least four ventilators, he said.

Shortage of trained staff nurse was another problem of the SNCU here. As against requirement of around 20 nurses, only 15 are working in the unit presently. Similarly four doctor posts also remained vacant. The superintendent, however, said the medical college authorities have given advertisement to fill up of the nursing posts.

Out of 2748 babies treated in the SNCU here from April 2012 to March 2013, 1624 were from outside, he said. These babies included 1872 males and 876 females. As many as 579 infants had died during the period, while 290 referred to other hospitals, sources said.