The Department of Paediatrics came into existence in 1967 with a Bed strength of 30 at District Hospital, Belgaum. The first Head of the Department was Dr. K.H. Belgaumkar, MRCP, followed by Dr. B. M. Siddibhavi, MRCP, Dr. V.D. Patil, M.D., DCH, Dr. (Mrs.) N.S. Mahantshetti, M.D, Dr. S M Dhaded, MD and Dr. (Mrs) R M Bellad, MD, DCH. The faculty members during that period were only 3 which have now increased to 17. The KLE Society’s Hospital was started in 1984 with 25 beds in Paediatrics. The DCH course was started in 1978 and M.D. Degree in 1982 with an intake of 6 and 3 students per year, respectively.
In 1996, the New KLE Society’s Hospital & Medical Research Centre was started and the Paediatric Bed strength increased to 120. In addition, we have also 20 Beds of Level III NICU and 14 Beds of Paediatrics Intensive Care.
The faculty members include Superspecialists in Neonatology, Paediatric Intensive Care, Nephrology, Neurology, Paediatric Cardiology and Paediatric Hemato-Oncology. The department also runs Special clinics like Under-five Clinic, Child Development Clinic, Kangaroo Mother Care Clinic, Pediatric Nephrology Clinic, Asthama & Allergy Clinic, Thalassemia Clinic and Pediatric Neurology Clinic. The department has taken a lead in promoting Baby Friendly Hospital initiative, which is a National Policy, and the department is proud to state that the hospital (KLE Society’s Prabhakar Kore Hospital & Medical Research Centre, Belgaum) has been recognized as “Baby Friendly Hospital” (BFH). Our faculty members have spread the message of BFHI into the community of Belgaum and surrounding villages.
The faculty members are involved in various community programmes like RCH, IMNCI, Promotion of Breast Feeding, Home management of Diarrhoea, HIV awareness among adolescents and Adolescent Health. Our faculty members are actively involved in research projects in collaboration with Global Network and NIH.
The Postgraduate Alumni are doing very well and are well placed with many of them doing Post-doctoral courses and Fellowships. Many of the undergraduates have taken up Paediatrics as a Speciality and have got their PG Degree from prestigious institutions in India and abroad.
Our aim is to set-up an Institution of Child Health to serve the growing needs of the Paediatric community.
Breastfeeding rates are low in India. Participants for the initiation of breast feedings are only 40% even if the institutional delivery has reached to 78.9%. Paradoxically with improved obstetric care more babies at risk are born especially preterm and low birth babies. Mothers have difficulty in feeding these babies has these babies may not be able to suckle and feed on the breast. Hence many a times these babies receive formula milk which can be major source of infection leading to prolonged neonatal intensive care stay and even deaths sometimes. More than 50% of deaths can be prevented by providing breast milk to these needy babies. Premature, sick and new born babies have a higher chance of recovery if they get breast milk. If the mother is unable to feed, the next option is the human milk from a donor. Human milk helps in raising the survival rates for those newborns whose mothers cannot produce enough milk. The Human milk bank will collect, pasteurize, test and store milk donated by lactating mothers and make it available for the infants in need. It will not only collect but will also test and will safely store the milk donated by lactating mothers for the infants who are in need. With the help of dedicated lactated counsellors, the centre will promote, support and protect the breastfeeding by providing lactation support to mothers. Giving a child breast milk from another woman is not a new concept, wet nursing was a fairly common practice a few decades ago. The risk of infections and diseases such as HIV are reasons why wet nursing is not encouraged today. Breast milk that has been expressed, pasteurized and stored in sterilized conditions is safe and healthy for babies. Breast milk is liquid gold and is the best gift that all moms can give. There are about 50 human milk banks in India with Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu being the leading players. Our centre would be the first of its kind in Karnataka which will help in improving the survival of thousands of tiny newborns.