Dubai: The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Dubai’s Latifa Hospital for Women and Children admitted 1,058 babies in 2019 said a top Dubai Health Authority (DHA) official. This is the largest NICU in Dubai and babies that are born premature or have low birth weight and require to be in incubators are placed here. In 2018, the Nicu had admitted 967 babies.
Dr Mahmoud Saleh El Halik, consultant Neonatologist and head of the NICU at Latifa Hospital added: “Out of the 1,058 admissions in the NICU, 31 per cent (329) were preterm babies, almost 10 per cent (96 babies) with low birth weight due to Intrauterine Growth Retardation and there were at least 11 babies below 500gm birth weight, with the smallest weighing only 420gm!”
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The hospital has an average of 4,000 deliveries per year. The NICU has a highly experienced team that provides care and management for extremely premature babies, some weighing as little as 500 grammes, with excellent outcomes. To cope with the increase in the number of NICU admissions, the hospital’s NICU has increased its capacity over the years and today it has 64 beds, making it the largest NICU in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. It is a referral unit for complicated cases.
The hospital’s NICU unit is part of the Vermont Oxford Network, an international network of NICUs more than 1300 hospitals and countless individuals collaborating to improve neonatal care around the world with data-driven quality improvement and research in neonatal intensive care units of level I, II, & III care centres around the world, against which Latifa Hospital benchmarks itself. According to the Vermont Oxford Network, the hospital has achieved an 85 per cent breastfeeding rate for neonates which is 15 per cent higher than the international average and a significantly equal or better outcome when benchmarked with several other parameters in the network.
Best ‘Kangaroo Care ‘ facility
Latifa hospital is also a pioneer in Dubai in providing a family room in the hospital’s NICU for extremely premature babies and their mothers. The neonate and the mother stay for a few days prior to discharge from hospital to practise bathing, feeding and routine care for the newborn; which increases the mother’s confidence and is especially helpful in complicated cases. All newborns admitted receive an exceptional involvement of the parents in care mainly through implementing this internationally recongised system of Kangaroo care for all babies.
Dr El Halik highlighted that there are plans to standardise neonatal care in Dubai through the ‘Dubai Neonatal Network’, under DHA’s Paediatric service line. The programme has been developed by
Latifa Hospital’s neonatologists, which is the first of its kind in the region. “The network will retrieve data related to neonatal services in all NICU’s in Dubai to help benchmark neonatal services, collect data and offer comparative analysis and an opportunity for quality improvement projects in different neonatal intensive care units. Implementation will be through the Health regulation department in DHA,” said Dr El Halik. He added that collecting this data will help enhance neonatal care in all NICU’s in the country.
Latifa Hospital is equipped with the most advanced neonatal ventilation modes and haemodynamic monitoring run by an expert team of neonatologists that ensure a pioneering neonatal care with excellent outcomes.