In an effort to reduce and further eliminate infant mortality, the West Demerara
Regional Hospital reopened its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) yesterday.
This was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and the Guyana Help the Kids Foundation.
The unit was commissioned in 2014 but has not been functioning for awhile.
During a simple ceremony, the unit, which caters for five infants at once, was officially reopened by Dr. George Norton, the Minister of Public Health.
The NICU is fully equipped with incubators, open care warmers, infant ventilators, CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines, IV (Intravenous) and syringe pumps, phototherapy lamps (LED and Fluorescent), monitors, transport incubators, oxygen and humidity therapy devices, and aerosol medication devices.
According to Dr. Shawn Bancroft, Regional Health Officer of Region Three,
“This is our first step of ensuring that we’ve fulfilled our commitments which are the reduction of maternal mortality in Guyana and also the reduction of infant mortality”.
He added that with the reopening of the NICU, it is important not only to have trained staff but continuous training, specialized services, policies such as quality assurance and infection control to be established so that a better health service can be delivered.
The minister said that neonatal mortality in Guyana, though decreasing, continues to be a major public health concern, and is currently a primary focus of the Ministry.
Infant mortality rate, according to the Minister, is one of the indicators for the Sustainable Development Goal, hence the Ministry is looking towards enhancing its pre- and post-natal programme and services.
“The reopening of the NICU at this hospital will see fewer women travelling from Region Three to Georgetown for specialized health care, since it is now accessible in this region,” Dr. Norton stressed.
He said that the doctors and nurses who will be stationed in the NICU, would have undergone training in the areas of neonatal care and pediatrics, and are fully capable of providing better care to all babies born at the facility.
The Minister said that the partnership between the Ministry of Public Health and the Guyana Help the Kids Foundation (GHTK) has lead to a significant decline in neonatal deaths at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
In December 2015, the GPHC recorded a drop in mortality from 35% to 7%.
GHTK is a registered Canadian charity instituted for the purpose of reducing neonatal mortality in Guyana through the provision of education and technology at the GPHC and Regional Hospitals. These provisions include physician education, nursing education, infection control and biomedical support, through a comprehensive and sustainable programme.
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