Current status of NICUs in India: a nationwide survey and the way forward

Indian J Pediatr. 2014 Nov;81(11):1198-204. doi: 10.1007/s12098-014-1489-1. Epub 2014 Jun 15.


The number of Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and Special Care Newborn Units (SCNUs) in the country has increased exponentially. However, their current status of functioning is not known. A structured questionnaire survey of 70 NICUs spread across the country was conducted to assess their infrastructure, staffing, equipment, patient profile and their involvement in research and training. Majority of the units were well staffed and led by neonatologists trained in India and abroad. All had facilities for mechanical ventilation and were equipped with sophisticated imported equipment. Yet, availability of in-house blood gas and X-ray, microbiology facility, invasive blood pressure monitoring and support of ophthalmologist was not universal. More than half had published papers in scientific journals and were having recognized training programs in neonatology. Though tremendous progress is visible since the last surveys, the number of NICUs is still grossly insufficient. The current and future gap in trained manpower is however daunting, and intensive efforts for expanding the in-service training programs and innovative approaches to training are required. There is an urgent need to improve the quality of care by launching collaborative quality improvement programs and mandatory periodic accreditation managed by independent empowered organizations. The focus has to move forward from simply 'survival till discharge' to 'intact complete life survival'. Simultaneously, the NICU care has to stay available and affordable for the masses.

MeSH terms

  • Forecasting
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / organization & administration*
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / trends
  • Surveys and Questionnaires