Maternity hospitals lacks staff

Delay in recruitment of 14 paediatricians and 48 nurses besides procurement of equipment sanctioned for the upcoming MGM hospital’s mother-child unit, proposed newborn units at both GHM and CKM maternity hospitals and at state-run newborn unit in Eturun-agaram is affecting infant mortality in Warangal.

Under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Rs.9.26 crore was sanctioned to MGM hospital towards construction of a mother-child unit building and procurement of equipment in September last year.

Similarly, for both CKM and Government Maternity Hospital, (GMH), Hanamkonda, Rs.63 lakh was sanctioned to each of them for setting up newborn units and purchase of equipment(DC).

Out of total 14 paediatricians and 48 nurses required, the staff sanctioned for these two new units at CKM and GMH includes 28 staff nurses and eight paediatricians for which the health administration issued recruitment notification on February 16 but there has been no progress since then.

It is significant to note that the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit at MGM hospital annually admits around 3,000 newborn babies, especially pre-term (born before 32 weeks) and late pre-term (born between 32-37 weeks) in critical condition for treatment.

According to sources, of the 3,000 newborn babies admitted annually at MGM’s NICU, 50-60 per cent of them are referred from the government-run CKM and GMH maternity hospitals, which are located at a distance of five km each from MGM hospital in the city.

The infant mortality (death) figures at MGM hospital’s NICU is reportedly around 15-20 per cent of the total admissions. Medical experts mainly blame the distance from maternity units to NICU as an important reason for malnutrition, loss of immunity power and probably deaths.

Due to separation of the newborn from the mother, critically ill infants admitted to MGM’s NICU are often deprived of highly nutrient ‘colostrum feeding’, which experts advise mothers to feed their newborn in the first 3-4 days of life as they contain antibodies providing immunity cover.

“When critically ill infants are admitted to MGM’s NICU, their mothers may be recovering from a C-section delivery in another hospital in another part of the city. So, there is no chance of colostrum feeding as distance between maternity and neo-natal hospital makes it practically impossible for ‘Expressed breast feeding’,” said Prof. P. Balram, head of paediatrics, Kakatiya Medical College (KMC).

Meanwhile, when contacted, the district health and medical officer (DMHO) P. Sambasiva Rao claimed that out of 14 paediatricians posts notified for the new units in CKM, MGM and GMH hospitals, they received only one application.

“The list of staff nurses is ready but there is no response from paediatricians,” he said.