Local paediatricians have to be equipped with improved equipments and technology to reduce the number of neo-natal deaths through low-cost intervention by the primary healthcare system.
‘Limiting neo-natal deaths through low-cost intervention by the primary healthcare system is possible. But it requires making improved technology available to the paediatricians,’ said the Dhaka Shishu Hospital’s director, Professor Selim Shakur, on Wednesday at the beginning of a three-day international conference on neo-natal care.
The Bangladesh Neo-Natal Forum organised the conference as a part of its programme on continuing medical education with the support of the UNICEF. Unlike other conferences, three technical sessions were held on the first day.
The conference will be officially inaugurated. Underlining the necessity of improved technology, Selim Shakur said local paediatricians cannot afford to lag behind the developed world.
He said neo-natal deaths must be checked to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 [to reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate of children under five by 2015]. Presenting a paper on the problems of non-breathing newborns, Dr Stephen Wall of the Save the Children, USA, said improving ante-partum, intra-partum and post-partum care is helpful in reducing neo-natal mortality.
He warned that a non-breathing baby may not be immediately recognised and is not provided breathing assistance. ‘But they can be helped by drying or stimulation, cleaning the airway and breathing assistance…Drugs and oxygen are rarely needed,’ he said. Professor Mohammad Hanif of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, Dr David Evans of South Mead Hospital in the UK, and Professor VS Rajaduri of KK Women and Children Hospital in Singapore, among others, spoke at the session moderated by Professor Kishwar Azad, the Bangladesh Neo-natal Forum’s president.