In November 2017, I had a scary but reassuring experience with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in some hospitals in New Jersey, USA, when my son was born. So, it was heartbreaking to see photos of the sharp contrast between the NICU I experienced and what children and parents experience at the Effia Nkwanta regional hospital in Takoradi.
The photos shows inadequate and dilapidated facilities, worn-out beddings and incubators among many others, which may even cause potential health challenges for the children who need special care within the unit.
A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), also known as an intensive care nursery (ICN), is an intensive care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants. Neonatal refers to the first 28 days of life.
NICU is typically directed by one or more neonatologists and staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, resident physicians, respiratory therapists, and dietitians. Many other ancillary disciplines and specialists are available at larger units.
The term neonatal comes from neo, “new”, and natal, “pertaining to birth or origin”.
Neonatal nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses that care for premature babies and sick newborns in intensive care units, emergency rooms, delivery rooms, and special clinics. Prematurity is a risk factor that follows early labour, a planned caesarean section, or pre-eclampsia.