Baramulla, September 1: The Special Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) established at Government Medical College (GMC) Baramulla has been essential in preventing the referral of ill and premature newborn babies for special treatment at the territory care hospital in Srinagar, but the non-operational 10 bedded Paediatrics Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has been a crucial facility that has been deprived to the residents of north Kashmir.
The lack of a PICU facility in the three north Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora causes a lot of problems for parents of critically ill newborns because those children must be sent to Srinagar hospitals for specialised care, causing them pain and suffering.
For newborns with congenital heart problems, congenital malformations, respiratory distress like asthma, infections, and other chronic disorders, the PICU facility is crucial.
The unit handles very serious paediatrics situations, such as those with critically ill children and those with the potential for life-threatening consequences.
Even young adolescents and teens have access to the facilities.
Prior to now, GMC Baramulla’s Special Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU) served as a crucial facility for hundreds of newborns from all throughout north Kashmir.
In addition to operations like resuscitation and exchange transfusion, the facility offers portable X-rays, infusion pumps for intravenous fluids and drugs, central oxygen, and individual warming and close monitoring equipment.
Mechanical ventilation and skilled newborn surgery were excluded, nevertheless.
Local resident Dilshada Begum demanded the establishment of a PICU unit at GMC Baramulla, claiming that she had suffered as a result of the lack of such a facility.
She said she gave birth to a male child three months back, however, her newborn child had some serious complications and needed the highest level of medical care.
“In absence of such a facility, my sick child was shifted to the Children’s Hospital Srinagar where we had to stay for at least 16 days till my sick child recovered fully,” Dilshada said.
“It was a really trying moment for us. We had to arrange accommodation for such a long period. Had such a facility been available in any area of the north Kashmir, the family would not have undergone such an ordeal,” she said.
GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital has emerged over the years as a premier health institute across north Kashmir.
The hospital witnesses massive rush of patients who visit the facility from even other districts of the north Kashmir.
The pediatrics section of the hospital too remains over busy with patient rush.
As per hospital records, in last seven months, around 4500 persons visited the OPD section of the hospital.
During the same period, around 1150 sick children were admitted in the hospital while 333 new born sick babies were referred to Children Hospital Srinagar for specialised treatment.
During this period around 10 critically sick newborn babies died.
Hospital officials said that to make the PICU unit functional at GMC Baramulla, the hospital authorities need trained nursing staff, nursing lab technician, medical officers, and consultants.
“The PICU can be made operational once the required staff is made available. Once the staff is provided, the unit will be started, as it has to operate 24X7,” said a doctor at GMC Baramulla.
The GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital is already facing shortage of medical officers besides paramedical staff and it is extremely difficult for the existing staff to run the facility.
Medical Superintendent of GMC Baramulla Associated Hospital, Dr Parvaiz Masoodi said that the unit would soon be made operational.
He said that the issue had already been taken up with the higher authorities.
“We are hopeful that the PICU will start its operation soon at Baramulla. The required staff issue will be soon dealt with and PICU will be a reality at GMC Baramulla. The facility will cater to the new born babies from across north Kashmir and will be pivotal in avoiding the referral of critically sick patients to Srinagar,” he said.