Dr Charles Wood, the Medical Superintendent of the Tumu Municipal Hospital, has appealed for a special newborn care unit, formerly known as the Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit (NICU), to enhance healthcare delivery.
He said the current location of the facility attracted dust from the untarred road, which posed health hazards to the infants.
The absence of a walkway from the NICU to the female admission halls had become stressful, especially for mothers who had undergone cesarean sessions, hence the need for new infrastructure to provide good care for the preterm babies and reduce the stress on mothers, he said.
Dr Wood made the appeal when the Tumu Hospital observed World Preterm Day, where more than 100 staff took part in a walk to mark the Day.
The event, on the theme: “A Parent’s Embrace: A powerful Therapy”, was also marked with a durbar to educate patients, the health staff and the public on the concept.
Dr Wood said a baby is termed preterm when born earlier than expected with many complications associated with high infections.
He said the celebration aimed to raise awareness of those babies and how to save their lives.
The management would begin to involve the families in antenatal care to ensure many pregnant women attend a clinic with support from the families and create a sick child fund to help the mothers, Dr Wood said.
The NICU admitted 259 babies from January to October this year out of which 37 were due to preterm births, Dr Wood said.
He said it lost one preterm baby but the 36 were successfully treated and discharged.
There was a morality rate of 14.8 per cent within the period and
Dr Wood attributed the cause to the refusal of the clients to seek antenatal services.
The Hospital’s challenges included inadequate equipment, he said, adding that it currently had one incubator, two phototherapies, three radiant warmers, and six normal cots with few thermometers and monitors.
“The beds for the Kangaroo Mother Care are not available forcing the mothers to sit on the bare floor with their babies,” Dr Wood said.
“Nursing mothers come to the facility with mats and clothes to lie on the bare floor increasing cross infection such as jaundice, and anemia, which is high among the newly born babies and the mothers.”
The Hospital uses part of the female ward as its children’s ward following the closure of the children’s ward, which recently caught fire and was declared not fit for purpose given the danger the structural defects could cause to children.
Mr Emmanuel Zanaa, staff at the NICU, said the unit was established in 2018, which had saved the lives of many children and called on the public to support it.