After an intensive week of training our new nurses, the new Kitovu Hospital Baby Unit finally opened in January 2013. And the word seems to have spread amongst the baby community of Masaka, as they have been keeping our nurses very busy!
The Baby Unit is a clean, self-contained unit, which is kept at a warm temperature. We currently have 5 dedicated nurses trained specifically in the care of newborn babies, but hope to expand our staff as demand increases. We have one modern functioning incubator, but when babies are first admitted, they usually spend some time under our radiant warmers.
Our nurses have a number of different roles, including offering a full physical check to each baby born in the hospital, before discharge, supporting new mothers in areas such as breastfeeding, identifying sick babies on the maternity ward with a twice daily “ward look”, and caring for babies on the Baby Unit, as well as helping with the resuscitation of “high risk” babies.
Once premature babies have been stabilised and are no longer dependent on iv dextrose, they are moved into the nearby Kangaroo Care room, where their mothers will take over the role of warming them “skin-to-skin”, a life-saving and yet very simple intervention!
We have also recently started a new partnership with Embrace (a California-based charity), who have provided us with “baby sleeping bags” (a clever alternative to incubators, which doesn’t rely on a continuous power source).
Newborn deaths are common in Masaka, and in Uganda in general, but we hope to see our neonatal death rates reduce significantly with the opening of this Unit, and see more babies going home with their proud mothers.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BABY UNIT?
We’ll keep you posted on progress – it’s a busy but joyful time right now. Please do pray for further funding, though. We are only about halfway towards recruiting the necessary number of regular donors that we need to ensure that the Unit can continue, and since we hope to expand our Unit shortly, that will bring new funding challenges.
If you, or anyone you know, has a real heart for sick or tiny babies, then please do get in touch, so that we can tell you how YOU can help!
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!