The Specialised Newborn Care Units (SNCUs) in the State would get uniquely designed ambulances with life saving equipment to provide critical care to newborns.
In the first phase, on Friday, the SNCUs in the Government Hospitals at Tirupattur, Chengalpattu, Madurai and the Institute of Child Health (ICH) in Chennai were provided with an ambulance each. The other SNCUs in the State would also be provided with similar ambulances in the near future.
The ambulance that has been named ‘hospital on wheels,’ is equipped with neonatal ventilators, oxygen cylinder attached incubator (with safety belt), infusion pump, pulse oximetry, suction apparatus and mobile trolley. It also has a full battery backup with UPS, Dr R Senthil Kumaran of SNCU, Tirupattur Government Hospital said.
After successfully establishing SNCUs in 44 district-level hospitals and medical colleges in the State and ensuring 100 institutional deliveries, the State government has taken new measures to introduce the ambulance service exclusively for newborns. Dr S Srinivasan, State coordinator of National Rural Health Mission (NRMH), ICH, said the scheme was unique and was constituted by the Tamil Nadu government along with the NRHM.
The mission also aims at achieving zero expenditure for parents of the newborns. It also aims at bringing down the neonatal mortality rate to a single digit from the present ratio of 22 per thousand live births as per the 2012 study, Dr Srinivasan said and added that the ambulance attached to ICH had already transported over 1,000 babies.
“Within a month, 27 such ambulances will be inducted in the government health sector,” he said and added that the cost of the equipment in each ambulance is between `5 lakh and `7 lakh. The Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) would take up a mass campaign to create awareness about the facility and the contact numbers to benefit from this facility, he said. The ambulance would be strategically positioned to reach Primary Health Centres (PHC) and sub-centres to SNCU and transport babies to hospital in the district within 30 to 40 minutes.
Citing a recent survey, Dr Srinivasan said, three to five newborns die before reaching hospitals. “Three duty nurses and a driver have been assigned per ambulance. The staff have been trained for 15 days in ICH to attend to medical emergencies pertaining to newborns,” he further added.