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Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Health ministry releases guidelines to train parents in sick newborn care

The quality of newborn care improves by involving parents and attendants, and ensures better survival and quality of life later on.

health Updated: Jul 28, 2017 15:08 IST
Family participation in providing care to a sick newborn tends to improve their health.
Family participation in providing care to a sick newborn tends to improve their health. (Shutterstock)

Parents of sick babies born in a government facility will now be formally trained in best non-medical practices to help improve their condition.

Union health ministry on Friday released operational guidelines for states to plan and implement what is being termed as the Family Participatory Care (FPC), to improve newborn health.

“FPC has been introduced in the special newborn care units as a low cost innovative approach that empowers parents to care for their newborns during hospitalization and after discharge,” says Dr Ajay Khera, in-charge, child and adolescent health, health ministry.

The idea is to improve the quality of newborn care by involving parents and attendants that would ensure better survival and quality of life later on.

The need was felt to develop these guidelines since follow-up of sick and small babies after discharge from hospital showed nearly 10% did not make it after 1 year.

“At hospital these babies are taken care of well but at home there is no person trained enough to handle them. Gradually, it affects the overall health of these babies,” said a health ministry official.

“Also, currently if a child is in a hospital’s newborn care unit, he or she is totally cut off from the parents. The family has no role to play in the baby’s care, which is what will change once these guidelines become operational.”

Even doctors believe that a child grows best around his or her family.

“Kangaroo care, where the child is in direct skin-to-skin contact with the mother, works wonders for a premature baby’s development. It will surely help if parents are trained to provide care in non-medical aspects,” said Dr VK Paul, head of paediatrics, New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).

“Babies are also known to respond better to treatment if the family is around.”

The initiative will also help in bringing down the workload of an overworked staff.

“The treatment mainly is the doctor and nurse’s responsibility, however, other things like cleaning the baby, changing position or being observant enough to alert the staff in case there is an emergency,” said the health ministry official.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 15:08 IST

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