THE Limassol intensive neonatal care unit is going to be upgraded to help deal with premature births, Theophanos Papastefanou, nursing officer at the intensive neonatal care unit at Makarios hospital in Nicosia and assistant secretary of nurses’ union Pasyno said on Friday.
He made a statement on the occasion of World Prematurity Day, which has been observed each year since 2011 on November 17 to raise awareness of preterm births.
In recent years, there has been an increasing trend in premature births around the world, including Cyprus, which, he said, forces the state to take immediate action and implement strategies not only to reduce preterm labor but also to improve the quality of early care newborns and the most effective support of their parents.
“Finally, Limassol’s intensive care unit is getting flesh and bones,” he exclaimed, congratulating health minister Yiorgos Pamborides. “You have met the needs of citizens and society!”
Papastefanou said that those opposing the upgrade claim Cyprus is too small to have two such units, and all that was needed was to strengthen the unit in Nicosia. He said the problem with this is that parents have to travel long distances to and from other districts to see their newborns. Another problematic issue is that unlike in other countries, parents in Cyprus are not allowed to visit the babies for more than two hours, as staff and space are limited. This has a negative effect on the newborns, as well as the parents.
To have a premature baby can happen to anybody and that is why it is necessary to have equal opportunities for all.
In this spirit, the nursing officer said, teamwork is employed at the Makarios hospital, involving specialised doctors and nurses who are well-trained and care for each newborn around the clock.
The staff is also in touch with international organisations and works closely with the parents.
Doctors and nurses have long campaigned for the upgrade of the Limassol unit which has only basic facilities. A 2012 study recommended that the number of beds should be increased from 10 to 15 and that five intensive care beds with respirators were also needed.
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 15 million premature babies are born worldwide each year, or one in ten of all babies, and the number is on the rise.