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16.01.2009 Health

Neonatal Care Unit of Korle-Bu Hospital runs out of incubators

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The Neonatal Care Unit of the Child Health Unit of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is short of incubators to take care of the increasing number of babies delivered there.

Currently, the unit has 30 incubators which are inadequate to cater for the increasing number of births, sometimes numbering over 90 daily.

This has left the authorities of the hospital with no option than to either discharge babies prematurely or keep three babies in an incubator meant for only a baby.

This came to light when authorities of Unique Insurance Company Limited (UIC) and members of the press led by the hospital authorities undertook a tour of the facilities at the unit after the UIC had donated some items to the unit.

The incubators cater for, especially babies who are delivered prematurely by providing constant and right temperature required for their healthy growth.

In place of incubators, health experts advise that mothers of babies who are discharged prematurely should carry their babies in what they called a “kangaroo-mother-style” format to enable the babies get access to the required temperature for proper growth.

One observation made by the Ghana News Agency was that many of the nursing mothers were teenagers with little or no experience as far as post-natal care is concerned.

For now, hospital authorities have started expanding the facilities of the unit to accommodate more children, but what is clear is that more resources will be needed to run the unit but it is unclear how funds will be secured to procure the facilities.

With maternal treatment now made easy for all Ghanaian pregnant women, more pressure is expected, as explained by hospital authorities, to be brought to bear on the facility.

Maternal mortality has been declining but this falls short of the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 as contained in “The State of the World's Children 2009 Report” released by the United Nations Children's Fund.

The report paints a gloomy picture for teenage mothers, saying, girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

This calls for provision of more resources for the neo-natal care unit to ensure that the increasing number of teenage nursing mothers get access to incubators to save their lives as well as those of their babies.

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