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Mandeville Hospital gets assistance to reduce infant mortality

Monday, January 01, 2018

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — For many years Mandeville Regional Hospital was unable to adequately care for newborn babies with breathing problems because of resource constraints, including the absence of a ventilator in the Neonatal Unit.

Hospital leaders say those babies had to be transferred to other facilities such as the University Hospital of the West Indies or the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.

A donation to Mandeville Regional in December by the Sagicor Foundation not only ensured that the Neonatal Unit now has a ventilator, but other equipment as well.

Two patient monitors with mobile stands, one radiant warmer, one blood gas analyser, one resuscitator with accessories, one suction machine, and two humidifiers for the ventilators were also among the approximately $8- million worth of equipment.

The donation was made possible from proceeds of the 2017 Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run.

Prior to the gift, the hospital struggled with a high newborn mortality rate — a situation that was recently highlighted in a media report.

At a recent handing over ceremony at the hospital, head of the Paediatrics Department Dr Mauleen Tate-Thompson, said Mandeville Regional had great difficulty keeping premature babies alive beyond two weeks because of the resource limitations.

“We have tiny babies admitted to our nursery, as small as one-and-a-half pounds, and because we don't have ventilatory support… and we don't have the ability to provide what we call parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding), we lose many of these tiny babies by the time they get to 1-2 weeks — because these babies are so immature their guts don't work, so we can't feed them optimally … ,” she said.

In expressing appreciation for the donation she also made an appeal for facilities to provide nutrition to the premature babies.

“In the future, if we could be assisted with equipment, the facilities to provide parenteral nutrition, that will take us a far way in improving our neonatal mortality rate because that is really our aim,” the consultant paediatrician told the Sagicor representatives.

In addition to the equipment donation, Sagicor did a mural at the entrance of the Neonatal Unit, unveiled two signs to assist with direction to the hospital and the various departments, and passed on fifteen wheelchairs from the charity organisation, Food For The Poor.

Tate-Thompson said that although the wheelchairs were not given directly for the Neonatal Unit, they will assist greatly with efficiently caring for post-delivery and caesarean section mothers.

— Alicia Sutherland

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