KARACHI: With 24 more beds, Aga Khan University Hospital's (AKUH) expanded Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) opened its doors on Wednesday, enabling the hospital to treat a greater number of critically ill or premature newborn babies
The new facility has four wards with five incubators each and four isolation rooms for babies with infections.
Speaking on the occasion, NICU head Dr Muhammad Sohail Salat said that the doubled number of beds and nursing staff would allow the hospital to realise its vision of helping more than 1,000 pre-term babies each year.
"We can increase the child health ratio by improving the quality of newborn healthcare and by providing better facilities to newborn babies," he said, highlighting the lack of healthcare facilities available for such babies in the city.
According to Dr Salat, 1,600 babies were born at the hospital in 2014. A number of children born in the rest of the province and other hospitals in the city are often also referred here because of low birth weights or complications. He added that at present, two babies from Hyderabad and one from Sukkur were being brought to the NICU for treatment. "With this expansion, we can save many more lives."
Dr Salat brought forward 19-year-old Arisha Asad, who was born in the seventh month of her mother's pregnancy. She was shifted to AKUH to give her a better chance of survival and, according to him, now aspires to be a doctor. "These are not just success stories but are lives that were saved because they received the right treatment in the right facilities at the right time," he said. English Biscuit Manufacturers contributed to the NICU expansion.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2015.