Healthcare: Uttarakhand

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Ventilators for new-born babies

2017: shortage in Dehradun

Shivani Azad, Only 1 ventilator in Doon’s 10 govt hospitals, December 3, 2017: The Times of India

Uttarakhand which is grappling with the problem of rising Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) has only one ventilator for newborn babies in the government health facilities of the state capital Dehradun. Uttarakhand’s IMR stands at 38 infant deaths per thousand births at present.

The lone ventilator is in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Govt Doon Medical College Hospital (GDMCH). There are nine other government health facilities in the city including two prominent hospitals — Combined Hospital at Premnagar and Coronation Hospital at Dalanwala — where the ventilator facility is missing.

Experts said at least 20 babies are born every day in GDMCH and almost a similar number of deliveries take place in all the other health centres combined. Many babies require intensive care which is denied to them. 70% of infant deaths in the state incidentally are of newborns. Most of them have died due to lack of timely medical aid. Interestingly, although GDMCH has three ventilators for newborns, two have been lying defunct for the past two months. A source in the hospital said that the “breakdown of the ventilators is a frequent problem.” “Some machines had been repaired recently but they broke down again. We have informed concerned officials.”

Director general (health) Archana Shrivastava said, “We are planning to procure non-invasive ventilators for neonatals under the national health mission programme soon. These ventilators will be provided to NICUs in all government facilities on a priority basis.”

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