HMC: Safe and Complete Care for Premature Babies and Newborns

  • 4 months   ago
The health system in the State of Qatar is witnessing great development and tangible progress at all preventive and curative levels, as well as the standards of health care provided to all residents of the State of Qatar, regardless of their age and the type of diseases, thanks to the priority the State gave to this important sector on the basis that a person who is physically and psychologically healthy is more capable than others of giving, producing and actively contributing to the advancement of the nation.
In this context, the care of newborns and premature infants receives great attention, due to the health problems and difficulties that usually accompany their premature births, whether those related to the health of the mother, or those related to the health of the newborns themselves, which are often discovered before they are born.
The Intensive Care Unit for newborns and premature babies and those in charge of it at the Women's Wellness and Research Center at Hamad Medical Corporation are making great efforts to care for this category of newborns, especially since they suffer from many complex health problems when they are born, which includes their small sizes, low weight and incomplete growth of all their organs. This results in difficulties in feeding, growth, breathing and others, especially since some of them may have premature birth due to a disability accompanying their pregnancy.
There is no doubt that the neonatal intensive care units at Hamad Medical Corporation have made remarkable progress in the care of premature infants that made the State of Qatar at the forefront of countries that recorded the highest level of services to preserve the health of premature infants globally. This is thanks to the many services provided by these units in this field, the accumulated medical and nursing expertise available, and the great success of the programs they set and implement for the benefit of these children and their families, which contributes to their recovery and their exit from the unit in a good and stable health condition.
Senior Consultant and Medical Director of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women's Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) Dr. Mai Abdulla Al Qubaisi said, in a conversation with Qatar News Agency (QNA), that the newborn and premature babies unit at the Corporation is considered one of the largest units compared to its counterparts in the Middle East. It accommodates 112 beds or an incubator, and annually receives between 2000 to 2500 children and newborns, males and females.
She explained that the unit includes two sections, one for intensive care for premature babies who are born with a gestation period of 24 to 27 weeks, and their weights range from 500 to 800 grams, while the second section is concerned with intensive care for those who are born after more than 28 weeks, knowing that the normal pregnancy period is about 40 weeks or about 280 days. The general medical definition of a premature baby is a baby born after a uterine gestation period of less than 37 weeks, she pointed out.
Dr. Al Qubaisi stated that the critical period for newborns and premature infants is for those who are born in the 23rd and 24th week. She attributed this to the fact that it is the period during which resuscitation becomes possible. However, she indicated that the process of resuscitating those under 23 weeks of age is sometimes carried out according to certain medical criteria related to the weight of the child and the preparation of the mother for childbirth and delivery with medicines that help her childs growth and getting rid of infections, as well as the criterion of the weight of the premature baby. Moreover, she pointed out that every growth week that a child born at 23 weeks of age passes, increases his or her chances of life and exit from the unit without chronic health problems, with continuous follow-up, adding that the minimum weight of a premature baby in the unit is 480 grams, less than half a kilogram.
Medical Director of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Women's Wellness and Research Center (WWRC) Dr. Mai Abdulla Al Qubaisi confirmed that the percentage of safe and stable exit from the neonatal intensive care unit now for premature infants, whose gestation period between - 24 to 28 weeks - at WWRC, is much better than in previous years, due to the new technologies used by the unit in terms of devices, medicines, nutrition and other modern medical care methods that are applied.
Dr. Al Qubaisi noted that there are many reasons that lead to premature births, as well as the recovery of premature babies, adding that these reasons necessarily differ from one child to another and from one mother to another, and in terms of severity and danger, which, in turn, is reflected in the speed of recovery and growth and the period of stay and exit from the unit.
She indicated that the premature baby will remain in the unit until the time of his natural birth, which was determined for the mother at the beginning of the pregnancy, pointing out that most premature newborn babies who leave the unit after checking on their health do not suffer from chronic or complex health issues, such as difficulties with movement, learning and growth.
With regard to the premature and newborn babies feeding system, Dr. Al Qubaisi said that the unit applies an approved and recognized international protocol. She explained that a premature baby at the age of 34 weeks is fed intravenously, due to the fact that his muscles do not help him suck milk. Milk is given after that in appropriate quantities and at an appropriate age, with preference for mothers milk to premature infants in particular.
Dr. Al Qubaisi cautioned that most children at the age of less than 34 weeks need technical assistance with regard to breathing through a tube, a mask, or with normal oxygen, also according to the childs age, growth, weight and disease condition, confirming that the available respirators in this unit is the most modern in the world.
It is also rare to follow up on cases of conjoined premature twins and to take care of their mothers until their birth, and before they are separate in Sidra Hospital, Dr. Al Qubaisi said, noting in a related context that there is an international program applied in Qatar to transfer premature infants from one hospital to another, governmental or private, depending on the condition of the child and the availability of the intensive care required for him and the completion of his treatment in the concerned hospital. She said that the Ministry of Public Health has adopted a comprehensive program for the integrated assessment process in this regard, which includes doctors, respiratory specialists, nursing and ambulance crews.
Dr. Al Qubaisi revealed that the unit started giving premature and newborn babies in Qatar, who are less than 34 weeks of age, a drug called surfactant that helps in the growth of the lungs, and thus ease of breathing, and said that it is a new procedure in Qatar that would avoid the use of a breathing device, noting that studies have proven that the more the breathing tube and device are dispensed with, the better the result will be in terms of the child's growth and chances of survival after that at this age and low weight.
She added that the care for these children is not limited to the unit only, but they continue to follow up and provide the necessary support to them and their families at home and in specialized clinics through an integrated medical team that includes physiotherapists and nutrition specialists, to assess the child's condition and to ensure his safety, and transfer him to other specialties as needed and when necessary, according to the early diagnosis program that is applied to discover no developmental delay.
She added, we also have groups to support families of premature babies, consisting of doctors, social workers, psychological and other functional specialists, and mothers of former premature babies, all of whom help with advice and health guidance, and this includes our celebration of the World Prematurity Day which is observed annually on November 17, in addition to shedding light on the methods of health care to be followed towards this category of premature and newborns."
As a result of this great effort made by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and its various departments, the unit achieved remarkable results in the field of the quality of services and care for premature infants, which made Qatar one of the advanced countries in this field at the international level.
Dr. Mai Al Qubaisi said that the unit received many praises for these advanced positive results, whether from the World Health Organization or from countries in the Middle East. She also expressed her desire to benefit from the Qatari experience in this important field, which is mainly concerned with the care of premature and newborn children in Qatar. (QNA)

Source: QNA