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Newborn intensive care units will prevent deaths-Naoto Niai


Newborn intensive care units in six hospitals to help reduce the high number of babies who die before reaching 30 days of life in the Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana, said His Excellency the Ambassador of Japan Naoto Nikai.

The Ambassador today launched the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Savelugu-Nanton Municipal Hospital, one of six donated by the Government of Japan in partnership with UNICEF and Ghana Health Services.

The units are a central pillar of a $2 million partnership to reduce newborn deaths in the Northern and Upper East Regions. In Ghana, about one million babies are born every year out of which around 30,000 die before reaching 30 days of life.

Newborn deaths account for nearly 40% of under-five mortality in the country. Addressing newborn deaths is essential if Ghana is going to achieve its Millennium Development Goal to reduce child mortality. “These newborn intensive care units will bring specialist treatment closer to very sick babies in Northern Ghana,” His Excellency Naoto Nikai said.

Before the six new units were set up, there was only one newborn intensive care unit in the whole of Northern Ghana. That was at Tamale Teaching Hospital. “These new units will improve the quality of newborn care at hospital level, and complement improvements to newborn care in communities.

 Last year, the Government of Japan, UNICEF and Ghana Health Services trained more than 2,500 health workers and health volunteers in how best to care for newborns in communities, as well as distributing 600 basic newborn care kits for post-natal care. This has contributed to provide quality care to babies at the community level” His Excellency Nikai said.

UNICEF Representative Susan Namondo Ngongi said that the six hospitals with newborn intensive care units would serve as referral centres for sick babies from other districts. “The number of newborn deaths in Northern Ghana is 30% higher than the national average,” Ms Ngongi said. “The most common causes of deaths are prematurity, birth asphyxia and infections.

These deaths can be prevented with the right training and use of life-saving equipment.” Northern Regional Minister Bede Anwataasumo Ziedeng said that newborn intensive care units would start operation at Yendi Municipal Hospital, Bole District Hospital and Tamale Central Hospital.

Bolgatanga Regional Hospital and Navrongo War Memorial Hospital will also set up newborn intensive care units. “These intensive care units will help save lives. Babies will not die because there is insufficient equipment to properly treat them.”



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