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Deaths of premature babies can be avoided with correct procedures

Over 20 million babies are born prematurely, every year, and others have a low birth weight. About 450 of these die every hour. By simply keeping the babies warm, most of these deaths can be avoided. Jayalakshmi Devi said that her baby can only whimper, when other babies can be heard screaming from across the hallway.

She says this outside the ICU where her son is kept in a glass box. Doctors have given the baby a 40% chance of survival, given that he was born with a weight of 1.3 pounds. She did not want to take a chance this time, given that she has already lost two children in the past. She brought the baby to a hospital after giving birth at a rural healthcare unit outside Bangalore.

The neo-natal ICU at Vanivilas hospital see a large number of premature babies with most of them being born at home, in the rural areas, and brought when in a critical status. Some of the babies, small enough to fit in a palm, are kept warm in the various rows of transparent boxes.

It is important to regulate the temperature of the baby, given that its body heat drops drastically once it is out of the mother’s womb. With little body fat, premature babies are unable to achieve this temperature regulation. This is the reason why they are kept in incubators, which most state hospitals cannot afford.

GE healthcare has responded to this need by creating the Lullaby baby warmer, enabling the country, with the highest pre-term baby deaths in the world, to take care of these babies.

Illiterate healthcare workers can operate the warmers since they come with pictorial instructions and color coding. The Lullaby warmer saves these hospitals a lot of money since they use less power compared to traditional incubators.



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