Government-run hospitals to get ventilators

Kathmandu, November 18

The government has decided to buy 14 ventilators for government hospitals to provide specialised care to neonates. The Department of Health Services has already allocated budget for procuring the ventilators.

“The neonates need specialised care for survival and healthy growth. However, this can’t be made possible without the availability of ventilators. Therefore, the government has decided to procure ventilators,” said Dr Rajendra Panta, director, Department of Health Services. The ventilators will arrive within a month.

The ventilators will be provided to government hospitals in all the provinces. Former health ministers Khagaraj Adhikari and Gagan Thapa had initiated the process for procuring ventilators.

Especially pre-term babies need specialised care until they are stable as they have lower immunity to fight infections. Organs of such babies are fully matured. When organs such as lungs and intestines have not developed properly, the babies are at risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. Therefore, hospitals must be equipped with ventilators, said Dr Ganesh Kumar Rai, director Kanti Children’s Hospital, Maharajgunj.

A ventilator is used to provide breathing support for ill or immature babies. Most babies who need ventilator assistance have lung problems, including immature or diseased lungs, which are at risk of injury.

As per Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016, there were 80 early neonatal deaths during the five-year period preceding the survey. The data revealed that neonatal mortality rate stood at 21 deaths per 1,000 live births and under-five mortality rate at 39 deaths per 1,000 live births.

And as per World Health Organisation, an estimated 15 million babies are born pre-term (before 37 completed weeks of gestation every year.

Pre-term birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under five years of age, responsible for approximately 1 million deaths in 2015. Across 184 countries, the rate of preterm birth ranges from 5 per cent to 18 per cent of babies born.