Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
A little story about how stuff gets accomplished. In Somaliland. And on the Internet.
At Edna Hospital, we have been facing a problem of having too many newborn babies with breathing difficulties and those who are premature. As many as six infants occupy our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at one time, but we have only one incubator, which is both unsafe for the babies and un-professional but we had no alternative.
We are fully aware that making premature babies share an incubator is dangerous but had no other option when we have become the only hope for the survival of these small babies in Hargeisa.
The Edna Adan Hospital received the first premature baby incubator in 2002 as a donation from the Dutch Ambassador who visited our hospital. That incubator served us for several years and then developed electrical problems due to frequent power surges here. We then received two more from Direct Relief and only one is now working.
We desperately needed a simple premature baby incubators so that we may place each preemie in his/her incubator so that we could control each baby’s individual needs for oxygen, temperature and care.
Feb. 21, 2013
I am grateful and happy to inform you that the Minister of Commerce of Somaliland made a pledge to me the day before yesterday and, 24 hours later, made a donation of US$4000 to the hospital to go towards the purchase of a premature baby incubator.
Although I was under the impression that incubators cost less, I have just received the attached quotations from a supplier in Dubai and they seem to be so much more expensive then we originally thought.
Anyway, I will add the difference and order tomorrow one incubator (China) and an oxygen concentrator as well as some neonatal nasal catheters and face masks.
Thanks and blessings to all,
NICU Wish List
Dr. Bruce adds, “Once one or two incubators are purchased, there are ongoing costs. Edna put it that it is like being given a car with no petrol. Each will need oxygen, resuscitation equipment, and all the many many items that are used and in need.”
If funds are available, we would then buy the following:
- Non-digital, simple to use incubators and having appropriate technology suitable for developing countries
- We do not have piped Oxygen supply and have to rely on portable Oxygen Concentrators which heat up after being ‘on’ for a few hours and have to be turned ‘off’ to cool down. This requires that each incubator have two Oxygen Concentrators.
- Spare filters and spare humidifier for each concentrator.
- Neonatal nasal canulae for preemies
- Neonatal Laryngoscope
- A supply of Suction bulbs to aspirate babies when they regurgitate to prevent inhalation pneumonia
- Neonatal naso-gastric feeding tubes
- A digital scale to weigh the preemies
- Auxillary thermometers
- Bottle warmers
- Preemie formula
- Preemie diapers
- Heating pads
Dr. Eve Bruce, who came from Ireland to work in our NICU, posted a lot of photos of infants to Facebook together with a plea for the donation of an incubator. This prompted a supporter, Lyndsay Cimimi, to create a fundraiser at Crowdrise specifically toward purchase of an incubator.
Meanwhile, Edna herself had a meeting with the Somaliland Minister of Commerce and the mayor of Hargeisa where she described the needs of the NICU. In 24 hours, she had in-hand $4000 from the government!
So, there is a new Incubator and a new Oxygen Concentrator on order. The funds from Crowdrise will go either toward a second new incubator or toward the purchase of other necessary equipment and supplies for our NICU.
Comments below are by Dr. Eve Bruce
Success story: This baby was in fetal distress to a mother with low amniotic fluid volume. She refused the recommended Caesarian section delivery because this is her first child.
Apparently this is quite common – to refuse an emergency Caesarian if it is your first couple of children because that might limit you to three or four deliveries and, as I said in a previous post, parents here hope for at least nine children in order to have a few survive to adulthood.
The baby was born in distress with meconium aspiration, seizures and bleeding from his stomach with gastritis. His first week of life was very rocky in the ICU. He is the cutest baby, you have seen him in my daily angel posts, with a sweet smile. His parents dote on him, and his mother is smart and dedicated to him.
Today he is going home with his parents. Alhamdulillah.
It is wonderful that maternal mortality is decreasing through Edna’s and others’ persistent work, but now neonatal mortality must also be addressed.
If more babies survived, parents would not be driven to have 8 – 13 children just to ensure that 2 – 3 will make it to adulthood. Each pregnancy and birth putting the mother at more and more risk.