The four-member expert team led by Dr Anup Kumar Barman, Director of Medical Education, Assam to inquire into 15 infant deaths at Jorhat Medical College Hospital (JMCH) from November 1 to 6 has recommended the increase of the number of beds and staff at the Special Care Newborn Baby Unit (SCNU), and mentoring of the unit by the National Neonatology Forum among others.
Dr Barman said that the team had recommended the increase of at least 20 beds from the existing 41, as well as increase in staff strength including workers, paramedical and doctors and also increase in critical care equipment.
He said that as per the inquiry report given by the hospital it was seen that in the past few months, the number of births had increased tremendously touching 800 last month.
“According to MCI guidelines, 12 beds were necessary in a neo-natal intensive care unit per 3000 births annually in any hospital. However the increase in births necessitates increase in beds, facilities and staff,” he said.
Dr Nilotpal Bhattacharjee, deputy superintendent, JMCH said the team had asked JMCH principal Debajit Hazarika to conduct a fire audit and power audit as the additional equipment would result in increase of load as well as work with the PWD to extend the unit.
“The in house engineer was summoned and asked to prepare a plan to expand the unit as making a new one would take time. As some space was there for extension, an additional 20 beds could be put in. As of today there are 65 new born babies in the unit and a few days ago this had averaged at 84, thus resulting in sharing of beds,” Bhattacharjee said.
He further said that the inflow was also from other neighboring districts, Golaghat and Sivasagar apart from Jorhat.
Bhattacharjee said that other recommendations included carrying out referral audits so that it could be understood why so many babies were being referred to JMCH and to take corrective action to reduce mortality, conducting maternal and Child death audits.
He said that the other recommendations were admissions criteria should be well defined for the inborns, if referred from peripheral hospitals then after the initial antibiotic administration could they be sent back for continued treatment, timely intervention till full feed and discharged and provision should be made in the gynecology ward for photo therapy treatment to be given to newborns suffering from infant jaundice.
Another important recommendation sent to the government was equipping 108 ambulances with critical care facilities for new borns being brought from peripherals.
The other members of the expert team were Dr Shreedhar R, health representative, UNICEF and consultant to the government of Assam, Dr Rita Bora, Associate professor, Neonatology department, Assam Medical College And Hospital and Dr R Begum, Associate professor of Professor of Paediatrics department Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.