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Ailing newborn, her mom fight Covid, they win battle

Amid the deadly second wave of the coronavirus and talk of a possible third wave mostly affecting children, Junika Toppo, 25, a resident of Jay Birpara Village under the Birpara Police station in Alipurduar district, was admitted in the hospital on 25 May after she experienced labour pain.

Rajkumar Karmakar | Alipurduar |

It was no less than a miracle at the Alipurduar district hospital when a baby, prematurely born to a Covid-positive woman, fought Covid-19 for a full seven days and in the end, both of them managed to win the battle.

Amid the deadly second wave of the coronavirus and talk of a possible third wave mostly affecting children, Junika Toppo, 25, a resident of Jay Birpara Village under the Birpara Police station in Alipurduar district, was admitted in the hospital on 25 May after she experienced labour pain.

Doctors at the hospital said they had to perform a Caesarian section on the woman due to some complications, as she had also tested positive for Covid-19, and that the baby was immediately admitted in the Sick Neonatal Care Unit (SNCU).

“However, much to the disappointment of the health staff there and the couple, the baby was also tested positive for Covid-19,” a hospital source said today.

“The child was also underweight and suffering from birth asphyxia, which is listed as the 10th leading cause of neonatal death in United States,” the source added. Doctors say that birth asphyxia happens when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients before, during or right after birth.

A 2008 report of the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that an estimated 900,000 infants die every year from birth asphyxia, making it a leading cause of death for newborns.

“The child was a premature baby and under-weight (2 kg 100 grams) on one hand, while on the other, she was tested positive for Covid-19. She was born with the virus in her. When we found she was suffering from birth asphyxia, we faced a major challenge, but we did not lose hope and did everything we could,” said the doctor in-charge of the SNCU at the Alipurduar district hospital, Dr Sunil Panna.

“The oxygen saturation level of the child was only 70 percent and we had to keep her in ventilation and stimulation. However, she got back to normal within a mere 48 hours. After that, the baby started taking breast milk, and it was then that we knew it was a great victory,” Dr Panna added.

The mother and the newborn were discharged from the hospital yesterday after both of them tested negative for Covid-19. “It is indeed great news amid the second wave of Covid-19 and assumptions about the so-called third wave, which is said to affect children more. This case will surely boost people’s confidence as they fight the virus, and more so, the parents who are now fearing for their children, given the talk of the third wave,” the Superintendent of the district hospital, Dr Chinmay Barman, said.

“We released the duo from hospital yesterday,” Dr Barman added. Junika Toppo, on the other hand, expressed happiness at their recovery and said: “My baby is doing good now. She is feeding well. She is our first baby, and we are very grateful to the doctors at the district hospital.”