Styrofoam incubator “an alternative method”, says atoll hospital

Manager of Noonu Atoll hospital Mohamed Najeeb has said that carrying a baby inside a styrofoam box in certain circumstances was not a big issue, and had been used in the previous years as an alternative method to transfer babies in critical conditions when an incubator was unavailable.

Last week some doctors criticised Noonu Atoll Hospital after doctors at the hospital transferred a newborn baby in a critical medical condition to Male’ inside a styrofoam box, because the hospital did not have an incubator.

“In past years in several workshops they taught us this method and said it could be used as an alternative when an incubator was unavailable,” Najeeb said. “We know of two methods that could be used in situations like this: one is to wrap the baby with cloth while transferring him, or to carry him inside a box,’’ Najeeb told Minivan News. ‘’The towel method was not fit for the baby’s situation because the baby was having seizures.’’

He said the baby was sent to Male’ with oxygen and nurses from Noonu Atoll Hospital, and the hospital decided to use the box method to maintain the infant’s temperature because they were travelling a speedboat and the winds would be high.

He also said that when dealing with such cases the method has been proven to be suitable, adding that the baby was transferred to Male’ without his condition deteriorating.

“The latest I heard about the baby was that Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) had asked the baby’s parents to take him abroad for more treatment,’’ Najeeb said.

Director General of Health Services Dr Ibrahim Yasir meanwhile said the Health Ministry was investigating the case.

“The situation does not appear to be abnormal, the doctor has even advised that a styrofoam box can be a suitable substitute for an incubator,” Dr Yasir said.

“There is shortage of incubators, which is being considered in the investigation. We are trying to find out if the doctor’s recommendation can be approved.”


7 thoughts on “Styrofoam incubator “an alternative method”, says atoll hospital”

  1. an atoll hospital not having an incubator is just sad. why dont the president cut his foreign trips, reduce some of the political appointees and allocate budget for improving the health sector.

  2. "he Health Ministry has investigating the case"?
    Has investigating?
    Nazeer, what feck are you writing?

  3. Why can't the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament revoke the 20k Committee Allowance, reduce the salaries and allowances decided for the Ministers, Judges, Parliamentarians, members of Independent Commissions, Local Councillors, Independent posts and allocate that money to buy the necessary equipment for the hospitals?

  4. Why can't the people elect some decent politicians for a change?

    Styrofoam incubator? What next?

    Pens for intubation? Old newspapers and deodorant for disinfection?

    Just because a method is serviceable does not mean that we should divert attention from the seriousness of the issue. The MDP government has been reduced to tatters. Let's not talk about Anni. He's desperately fighting an internal battle with Reeko Moosa et. al. while trying to juggle commitments abroad.

    Nasheed is now irrelevant. He cannot get elected short of a declaration of martial law and complete reversal of the current democracy. However, we really need to focus on viable options for our next elections.

  5. Few points I think need to be clarified:

    Yes, a styroform box could be used but even better is something recommended by WHO in its Essential Newborn Care Course (ENCC) called Kangaroo Care with skin to skin contact with a parent or guardian. Child having seizures or needing oxygen can also be transferred in this way. It is better than the styroform box in many ways including the provision of body heat and almost constant monitoring. WHO (and those advocating Kangaroo Mother Care) reports several advantages.

    Dr Yasir's statement that there is a shortage of incubators is misleading. Transport incubators are quite different from common infant incubators. To my knowledge there is only one such incubator in the country. It is at IGMH. No other hospital or health center has a transport incubator. It is also worth noting that none of the airlines operating within the country or operating to India or Srilanka have ever allowed the transport incubator to be carried on the aircraft.


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