Special unit giving Guyana’s ‘sickest babies’ better care

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In 2012, exactly 10 years ago, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) established a much-needed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to provide better, specialised care to premature babies.

Now, with more resources and trained healthcare workers, the NICU is helping to save the lives of the country’s sickest newborn babies.

As World Prematurity Day was observed on Thursday, Paediatrician and the GPHC’s Coordinator of Neonatal Services, Dr. Sara Singh, told the News Room that the NICU evolved from strength to strength over the years.

“When we started in 2012, some of the babies were in wooden boxes with a light for warmth.

“As time went by, we started to get incubators, we started training NICU nurses,” Dr. Singh related.

Now, the unit boasts of 18 ventilators able to provide intensive care to the newborn babies. These ventilators, coupled with care and support from the trained staff, help to keep babies alive.

Why this service is important, Dr. Singh said, is because sick, newborn babies from all across the country are referred to the GPHC and its NICU.

“The sickest babies in the country – they end up here.

“… sometimes we are lucky, we are able to save them and sometimes we are not so lucky,” the paediatrician said.

As countries celebrated World Prematurity Day on Thursday, the staff of this unit and other GPHC officials gathered at the NICU to reflect on the gains made over the years. They also addressed the need to continuously improve their services.

GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer (ag.) Robbie Rambarran was keen on noting that much more resources are needed to help save more lives.

He said that the hospital has been purchasing more ventilators and investing in other resources.

“In healthcare, the resources are never too much because everyday healthcare is evolving,” he said.

Rambarran also added: “I really don’t want to hear any baby dying because of the absence of a ventilator.”

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