To dispel apprehensions of babies being swapped with healthy ones and boys, as often expressed by parents, the Kashmir Valley's lone paediatric hospital, GB Panth Hospital, has started foolproof tagging of newborn babies.
"The hospital administration decided start colour-coded tagging identification method to ensure that attendants' entry into neonatal intensive care unit is restricted. The tags will ensure that there is no possibility of any doubt about the identity of a child," GB Panth Hospital medical superintendent Dr Muneer Ahmad Masoodi said.
The colour coding is assigned as per international standards. While pink identity bands are meant for girls, blue ones will be for boys.
The colour-coded neonatal identification tag system is foolproof. "Once fastened on child's wrist or leg with a button, it can only be cut open with a scissor. There is no way one can open the tag," said Dr Saleem Khan, a senior doctor at the hospital.
The waterproof tag carries vital information like a baby's date of birth, sex, mother's name and the hospital registration number.
There are allegations of baby swapping and stealing registered from the Valley's leading maternity hospital Lal Ded Hospital, which is yet to shift to colour coding.
GB Pant Hospital has taken the measure to stop such allegations levelled at the hospital, where hundreds of neonates are admitted every day. It has become the first hospital to start tagging system in Jammu & Kashmir.
Khan said tagging will also reduce infection transmitted through attendants. "Attendants are carriers of infections to make neonates sick," said Khan.
The hospital attracted media spotlight earlier this year when child mortality touched as high as 16% percent in February. The hospital registered unprecedented deaths of more than 310 kids from January to May, hitting the headlines in India and abroad.
Subsequently, it sparked street protests and reprimand from the state human rights commission, which forced chief minister Omar Abdullah to oversee the situation himself. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad too visited the hospital and expressed concern over under-utilisation of funds.
The new hospital administration, run by Masoodi, has turned around the hospital. From hygiene to child care, the hospital is working hard to rebuild its dented image of being deathbed of babies.