November 2022, Bangalore: One of the more important signs of the development of a nation is measured in infant mortality. A UN report says the current infant mortality rate for India in 2022 is 27.695 deaths per 1000 live births. Thankfully the number of neonatal (newborn) mortalities and morbidities have decreased significantly. One reason is because of the improvement of neonatal transport. Aster Women and Children’s Hospital, Whitefield is one of the few hospitals to have developed a world-class Neonatal and Pediatric Emergency Transport Service (NPETS) that helps save newborn lives. It is a form of transport system that helps sick babies get the proper treatment on the move at the right time with all the equipment needed.
Neonates are more vulnerable to Hypothermia and infections. Hence NPETS is very essential and ensures that the baby’s health does not deteriorate while being transported. Many babies need to get to quaternary care (Advanced) hospitals quickly and also get due care. Aster Women and Children’s Hospital has a highly advanced transport system which includes a Transport Incubator for maintaining body temperature, Therapeutic Cooling System for birth asphyxia, Amplitude EEG to monitor subclinical seizures and Inhaled Nitric Oxide to treat persistent pulmonary hypertension. The Transport Incubator also has an inbuilt ventilator, CPAP, and Oxygen therapy.
Dr Srinivasa Murthy C L (Lead Pediatrics, Consultant – Pediatrics and Neonatology), Aster Women and Children Hospital, said, “The well-maintained ambulance has enough space to fit and fasten the incubator and other equipment like ventilators, oxygen cylinders, and output monitors. In every way possible the ambulance ensures that the neonatal are not bereft of any kind of care to ensure their safety and well-being despite being on the road.” The ambulances are manned by Neonatologists and NICU trained nurses who are experts in dealing with neonatal emergencies, sudden respiratory and cardiac problems during transport.
Dr Lathiesh Kumar Kambam (Lead Neonatology, Consultant – Pediatrics and Neonatology) of the hospital added, “The service is indispensable for most parents with critically sick infants staying in far flung areas requiring urgent attention. In many ways, this is the only way they can be given a new lease of life. In short these are like NICU on wheels and all procedures that can be performed in a NICU can be conducted in these ambulances too. The joint efforts of the trained and knowledgeable members of the transporting team ensure the safe movement and medical care of unwell newborns.”
The NPETS staff takes care of critical monitoring, preservation of temperature, maintenance of adequate airway and other tasks that are dire to their survival. Instead of waiting for patients to arrive from the other primary and secondary care facilities, the NICU team spends extra time enroute on treating the infants – in the process improving their condition upon return to the quaternary center. Neonatal transport has come of age and Aster Women and Children’s Hospital is at the forefront of this welcome change.