The four-day annual conference of National Neonatology Forum (NNF) concluded here on Sunday with the call to strengthen newborn care facilities in rural India. “More than 50% neonatal deaths occur in villages and if we fail to strengthen the health delivery system there, we will not be able to achieve the desired results,” said president of the forum, Dr Ajay Gambhir.
“We have appealed to the Union government to use the expertise of country’s neonatologists in framing and executing programmes for newborn care,” he said, adding the government should fix responsibility for neonate deaths, both in private and public sector hospitals.
The government should also ensure quality medicare in the hospitals, as without it institutional deliveries would have no significance, said organising secretary of the conference, Dr Utpal Kant Singh. He said despite a noticeable increase in the number of institutional deliveries, around 90,000 children (within one month of their delivery) die every year in Bihar. “It is because the institutions don’t maintain required standards,” he added.
For mer head of department, paediatrics, PMCH, Dr SP Srivastava, said care for the neonates in urban areas was equally important to reduce newborn mortality in the country.
“Death of neonates in slums of urban India is a serious problem and unless we plan separately for them, the situation would continue to deteriorate,” he said.
Srivastava pointed out that though slum dwellers were not very far from healthcare facilities, they did not have easy access to them. “So, it is necessary to provide them doorstep facilities, if you want to get the most out of newborn action plan launched by the Centre,” he said.
Chairman of the scientific committee, Dr Nigam Prakash Narain, advised parents not to ignore jaundice in neonates, for the condition could lead to death of the child. He, however, said it could be prevented if the expecting mother was screened before the child was delivered.
Joint organising secretary, Dr PP Mishra, underlined the importance of neonatal ventilators to check newborn mortality. “There are many such inventions, which can be used to manage the sick children,” he said.
Dr Shrawan Kumar said diabetes in newborns was a common problem and if not addressed at the earliest, it would be difficult to reduce neonatal mortality. As in the case of childhood hepatitis, expecting mothers should be screened for diabetes, and if detected, the condition should be treated before delivery of the child.
Former HoD, paediatrics, NMCH, Dr SA Krishna, who is also chairman of the organising committee of the conference, stressed the need for early detection and management of infections in newborns.
Organising secretary Dr BP Jaiswal said the meet would go a long way in updating knowledge of peripheral doctors. Other prominent participants included Dr Madhu Sinha, Dr Binod Kumar Singh, Dr RK Sinha, Dr Birendra Kumar Singh and Dr NK Agrawal.