Newborn unit at Kerugoya General Hospital reduces infant deaths from 22% to 8%

Newly refurbished and equipped newborn unit at Kerugoya general hospital has led to reduced neonatal mortality rates in Kirinyaga county.

Medics at the hospital now say that deaths of infants have gone down from 22 per cent  in 2013 to 8 per cent.

Newborn unit Nurse Manager, Nancy Mburu said the facility is treating and discharging about 200 babies every year, saying that they aim at reducing all preventable neonatal deaths.

Kerugoya NBU has been refurbished and well-equipped with modern equipment, making it the best in the county and part of neighboring counties.

The unit provides specialised newborn treatment to unwell or premature babies born at the hospital or referred from other hospitals, providing significant relief to moms who would otherwise be referred to Kenyatta Hospital.

The hospital can now house up to 40 newborns and is outfitted with life-saving equipment such as incubators, CPAP machines, Phototherapy machines, fluid pumps, oxygen splitters, light metres, radiant warmers, oxygen concentrators, and sanction and resuscitating machines.

The equipment is used to treat and sustain the babies until they reach the appropriate weight to be able to survive on their own.

Babies admitted to the facility include those born prematurely, with low birth weight, and those delivered at term but with problems such as jaundice or infections. Babies who have undergone complicated surgery are also admitted to the unit.

Pre-term babies are those born before weighing 1,800 grammes and are cared for until they weigh at least 2,500 grammes, at which point they can be treated by the outpatient paediatric clinic.

The facility also includes Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC), in which mothers are taught how to keep their babies warm through body contact and how to nurse those who have been weaned from feeding tubes before they are discharged from the hospital.

“The transitional care allows mother and child to bond. Sometimes the size of the baby can intimidate their mothers, but we are here to support them and show them how to independently take care of their bundles of joy, which then increases their confidence,” Mburu said.



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