A hospital in Santacruz has inaugurated one of the largest newborn intensive care units (NICU) in the country. Surya Hospital added 65 new beds to their existing facility on November 14, taking the total number of NICU beds to 150 with all the facilities required to take care of newborn children.
Commenting on this, city doctors said that more hospitals should expand their NICUs given the shortage of beds for premature babies.
“Around eight lakh newborn babies succumb to death every year in India. In Maharashtra, the child mortality rate is nearly 24 (per 1,000 births). Out of these, two-thirds are premature born babies,” said Dr Bhupendra Avasthi, founder of Surya Hospital. He added that India witnesses the maximum number of neonatal deaths in the world.
The doctors also said that mothers who become pregnant through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have high chances of delivering preterm babies. “There are high chances of twins and triplets though IVF. It is noted that mother bearing twins and triplets has increased chances of delivering prematurely,” Dr Avasthi said.
State health minister, Dr Deepak Sawant who was present at the launch, said that his wife had delivered two preterm babies, who died because of lack of proper facilities in the city. “That time the doctors said that if we were abroad, the babies would have probably survived. Since then I have been focusing on developing NICUs across the state,” he said
At present, a baby born at 23-weeks and weighing 460 grams to parents from Africa, is the youngest baby in the NICU ward. “The first hour after the birth is critical. During this time, if preterm babies are given the good facilities and an environment where they are prevented from getting infections, the chances are that they will survive and have normal growth,” said a paediatrician from the hospital.