On 28 April 2023, Chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah inaugurated the first public sector specialised 200-bed children’s hospital in Karachi offering paediatric services especially to newborns, infants and premature babies.
The Sindh Institute of Child Health and Neonatology (SICHN) in Korangi is equipped with 21 ventilators along with modern facilities, including a 52-bed intensive care unit dedicated to premature babies, a 28-bed ICU, a 53-bed general unit, a state-of-the-art laboratory and health information management system.
Speaking at a briefing organised on the hospital’s premises, SICHN executive director Dr Jamal Raza highlighted the need for setting up a dedicated children’s hospital in the city and its key features.
“The hospital has successfully treated over 40,000 patients in six months. The staff is working in the morning and evening shifts, and around 300 poor patients are provided free-of-cost treatment daily,” Dr Raza told the audience, adding that there was no cash counter at the facility.
Pakistan, he said, had one of the highest mortality rates among premature babies and newborns in the world and the establishment of a specialised hospital catering to their needs was long overdue.
“Pakistan has 45.6 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births. However, 80 per cent of these deaths can be prevented through the provision of adequate facilities,” he said.
The SICHN, Dr Raza said, would be offering paediatric neurology services with rehabilitation, physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy along with outpatient department services for endocrinology, cardiology and rheumatology.
Talking to media, the chief minister appreciated the efforts of the hospital administration and said the facility would help save many precious lives. “In order to reduce the high neonatal death rate, the experts have suggested a three-tier system comprising an effective primary healthcare followed by a secondary healthcare system at the tehsil level offering kangaroo-mother-care units,” he said, adding that public awareness about frequent and exclusive breastfeeding was equally important.
“Under the SICHN umbrella, the aim is to develop hospitals and health facilities in the field of paediatrics and neonatology. The Sindh government plans to establish a paediatric surgical unit, services for sub-specialties, and to expand laboratories and upgrade the existing infrastructure. Besides, the institute would be a training and research facility,” he said.
The SICH satellite centre project at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), he pointed out, was still in its nascent stages. But, even then it had successfully treated 92pc of its patients.
“The SICHN is developing its genetic testing services including genetic variation tests, screening of inborn error of metabolism, and the application of Artificial Intelligence in child health and nursing,” he said.
A community development training unit, the chief minister said, had also been established where 72 staff members, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics of DHO East and Korangi and 36 of Chiniot General Hospital had been trained to look after newborns.
Earlier, the chief minister visited different wards of the hospital and the outpatient department and interacted with the mothers who had brought their children for a medical check-up and treatment.
The hospital’s inauguration ceremony was also attended by Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, parliamentary secretary for health Qasim Soomro and secretary health Zulfikar Shah.
Acknowledgement/ Credit: Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2023
Picture Credit: ARY NEWS