Affecting healthcare for infants

A shortage of pediatricians and equipment at hospitals is affecting healthcare for infants in the south-eastern, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), and south-central regions.

At a workshop on reproductive health care in these regions held in HCM City Wednesday, Dr. Le Nguyen Nhat Trung of the City Pediatric Hospital No.2 said the main causes of infant mortality were premature births, birth asphyxia, and infection.

He quoted infant mortality statistics as nearly 30 percent on the south-central coast this year, 45 percent in the south-east, and 37 percent in the Central Highlands.

Asphyxia accounted for 13 percent, 10 percent, and 20 percent respectively.

All hospitals in the three regions had neonatal wards but they were not sufficiently equipped, he said.

Some did not have ventilators for new-born babies and blood testing or other equipment, he said.

Besides, 12 out of 18 provincial hospitals had a shortage of pediatricians, while half of the existing number were not trained as pediatricians, he said.

Health departments in the regions should invest further in provincial hospitals and start training courses for pediatricians at these hospitals, he added.

Dr. Ha Manh Tuan, Trung’s colleague, warned that healthcare for newborns, especially in the first 24 hours, was very important to reduce the neonatal mortality rate.

Neonatal deaths accounted for nearly 40 per cent of child fatalities in the world, Tuan said.

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