The government of the Indian state of Hyderabad has implemented the eSNCU (special newborn care units) concept in an effort to reduce the infant mortality rate. Doctors from Niloufer Hospital are monitoring the health of newborn babies in peripheral hospitals, providing hand-holding support to in-house staff nurses and medical officers through video calling and telemedicine. This enables doctors in districts to receive expert advice in emergency situations. Currently, five SNCUs are being mentored by Niloufer experts.
The SNCUs are neonatal units located near labor rooms that provide level-II care for all sick and newborn children, including preterm and premature infants. All newborn care, except assisted ventilation and surgical interventions, is provided at the SNCU. The number of SNCUs has increased from 15 in 2014 to 38 in 2022, with 13 more SNCUs planned to be set up in 2023. Ten SNCUs in the State have received accreditation from the National Neonatology Forum.
To ensure early resuscitation of newborn children and stabilize them immediately after birth, newborn care units (NBCUs) have been established at all AHS and CHCS. Currently, 46 NBCUs are operational in the State, with another 10 approved and in the process of establishment this year. The Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres (NRCs) are set up in the State for severely malnourished/moderate acute malnutrition children with associated complications/medical conditions, which are treated along with nutritional supplementation and therapeutic feeding. Presently, 12 NRCs are functional in the State, and two more will be set up shortly at Eturnagaram and Mannanur.
To strengthen and sustain breastfeeding outcomes, all public health facilities in the State will be accredited under the Baby-Friendly Hospitals Initiative (BFHI). Lactation workers will be positioned in 41 high and moderate load delivery points to exclusively support and ensure breastfeeding immediately after birth in the labor room itself. They will counsel and create awareness on various aspects of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and supplementary feeding.
Thanks to these initiatives, the State has made significant progress in improving child health and increasing immunization coverage, leading to a decrease in infant mortality rate from 39 in 2014 to 23 in 2022.