Delta State Government has broken another medical feat as the State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH), Oghara has been equipped with sophisticated equipment to take care of infants during the first month after birth.
A neonatal unit, according to medical experts, is intensive care unit designed with special equipment to care for premature or seriously ill newborn and the neonatal care machines in DELSUTH, believed to be among the best in the country, would enable experts at the hospital take care of infants within the first 28 days of life.
The State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who on Thursday launched equipment for the neonatal unit of the hospital, had also on Thursday given a boost to its Free Maternal and Child Care Programme with the commissioning of a new 100-bed centre Maternal and Child Care Centre at the Warri Central Hospital as well as the inauguration of the Delta State Ambulance Service.
Uduaghan, while launching the equipment and a special telephone network service that would enable the clinic to give expert advice on child care to other hospitals in the state, on Thursday described the machines as part of measures of his administration’s holistic health plan to reduce infant mortality, adding that more of such equipment would be procured to meet growing demands.
He disclosed that the State’s Ministry of Health has acquired 100 phones under the scheme which would facilitate exchange of expert information on new born babies between neonatologists at Oghara and doctors at other hospitals across the state before the cases get to the teaching hospital.
According to the governor, the innovation was aimed at enhancing the survival of babies within the first 28 days of life, which he described as the most critical stage in the life of an infant.
Uduaghan advised authorities of DELSUTH to commence training of the personnel to handle the phones and warned against using the phones for purposes other than what they are meant for.
The Consultant Neonatologists at the hospital, Dr. Onyeaso Udoka had explained that the neonatal machines would aid breathing of premature babies, regulate their oxygen intake and generally enhance the survival of infants.
On her part, Dr. Evidence Enifoniye said that one of the machines would help detect vision problems in infants and enable the expert to prevent blindness among babies.
Earlier in Warri, while commissioning a new 100-bed centre Maternal and Child Care Centre at the Warri Central Hospital and the Delta State Ambulance Service, Governor Uduaghan charged women to embark on family planning and promptly register for antenatal care whenever they are pregnant.
Uduaghan explained that the Government’s free maternal and child care schemes were borne out of the high premium it places on the health of women and children.
“Our unflinching resolve to protect the lives and health of our women and children led to the establishment of the Free Maternal Helathcare Programme in 2007 and Free Under-Five Healthcare in 2010.
“These programmes have helped to ensure that all pregnant women in Delta State can access free healthcare throughout the period of pregnancy, delivery and afterwards while our children, below the age of five years, are guaranteed free medical treatment in all public health facilities.
“With these two programmes, we have greatly reduced the risk of injury and death in women from pregnancy related causes and in children, from diseases. Our steadily declining maternal mortality and under-five mortality rates are attestation to these facts.
“These achievements further spurred us to improve on our successes given our belief that no woman has to die because she is pregnant nor should any child die owing to preventable and treatable diseases.
According to him, “This dream, fuelled and sustained by the passion to further protect lives of women and children, has led to the establishment of this ultra-modern edifice we now call the Maternal and Child Care Centre.
“This modern health facility is equipped with state of the art medical equipment and staffed with commensurate quality of manpower that can provide tertiary level maternal and child healthcare.
“With this new centre, we would be better positioned to achieve the MDGs as related to maternal and child care by the year 2015.”
Addressing pregnant women at the occasion, Governor Uduaghan advised women to embark on family planning and space their births to guarantee their health and those of their babies.
He also charged women to promptly register for their antenatal care whenever they are pregnant and go to hospital for their deliveries and stop patronising quack birth attendants.
Uduaghan also inaugurating the state’s ambulance service, explained, “the increasing carnage on our highways due to road traffic accidents is the driving force for the creation of this ambulance service…The Delta State Ambulance Service is therefore aimed at the reduction of overall morbidity and mortality in Delta State.”