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Sick newborn care units to arrest infant mortality rate

Kolkata: To provide a major boost to the neo-natal health care system in the state, the Bengal government has set up the highest number of Sick Newborn Care Units (SNCU) and sick critical care new born units in the past eight years.

One of the main objectives of the move is to reduce the infant mortality rate in the state. Following various initiatives taken up by the Mamata Banerjee government, the infant mortality rate has dropped to 25 per 1000 live births, which is much below the national average of 34.

Altogether 69 SNCUs have been made functional across the state with additional 2,217 beds for providing specialized care to new born babies. One more SNCU is coming up at Serampore SSH.

There were only 6 SNCUs in the state before the Mamata Banerjee government came to power. According to state health department, Bengal has the highest number of sick critical care units in the country.

In order to ensure comprehensive neo-natal care, around 307 sick new born stabilization units (SNSU) have been set up at different government hospitals and medical colleges across the state. No SNSU existed in any state owned health care facilities before 2011, health department claimed.

In a further thrust on the child health care services, the state government is setting up 15 pediatric intensive care units (PICU). Around 13 PICUs have been made functional while one PICU is coming up at College of Medicine and Sagar Dutta Hospital and College of Medicine in North 24-Parganas and JNM Hospital in Kalyani each.

As many as 15 units of neo-natal intensive care units (NICU) have been set up at various hospitals including Dr BC Roy PGIPS and Chittaranjan Seva Sadan. It can be mentioned here that a pediatric nephrology ward was set up at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital along with 4 dialysis machines.

In order to give a healthy life to the children, focus has been laid on immunization of children. Nearly 98 per cent of the total number of children in the state is fully immunized. According to the health department data, only 80 per cent children were immunized in 2011.

To provide better treatment to the severely malnourished children and to educate the family on nutrition, around 51 nutrition rehabilitation centres (NRC) have been established in different districts in the last seven years. As many as 6500 children are annually treated in the NRCs.

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