Breath of Life
Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan — Pediatrician
The trip from Hanoi to Bac Giang City takes less than two hours, but the two cities feel worlds apart. Located northeast of Vietnam’s seat of government and culture, Bac Giang is the provincial capital of a largely rural, impoverished region.
After two years of specialty training in Hanoi, pediatrician Dr. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan returned to her native Bac Giang in 2003 with a heightened sense of that contrast. At Hanoi’s National Hospital of Pediatrics (NHP), Dr. Nguyen had first seen a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine and observed its lifesaving impact in treating newborn respiratory distress.
The CPAP is the flagship piece of equipment of East Meets West’s Breath of Life (BOL) program. While it is a standard therapy in hospitals in the developed world, CPAP was only then being introduced at this high-level Hanoi hospital. Back at Bac Giang General—with 550 beds, one of northern Vietnam’s biggest provincial hospitals—there was not a single CPAP. This large regional facility had no Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at all.
“I highly appreciate what East Meets West and the Breath of Life program is doing to improve newborn care in Vietnam, and particularly in my hospital,” says Dr. Nguyen. “It’s a team effort that is bridging the gap between rural and urban areas in neonatal care.”
This situation changed when EMW began implementing its strategy to expand BOL to the regional level. Since 2006, BOL has provided Bac Giang General Hospital with six CPAP and two phototherapy machines and two infant warmers, with training provided by Dr. Nguyen. Neonatal survival outcomes have greatly improved. “With BOL’s support, the mortality rate among infants has gone from 25% to only 5%,” Doctor Nguyen reports.
Bac Giang General Hospital is now one of BOL’s best capacity-building partners, participating in pilot tests and training lower-level facilities. In 2007, through the BOL district pilot project, the hospital trained eight district hospitals in the use of CPAP and in basic newborn care. “I highly appreciate what East Meets West and the Breath of Life program is doing to improve newborn care in Vietnam, and particularly in my hospital,” says Dr. Nguyen. “It’s a team effort that is bridging the gap between rural and urban areas in neonatal care.”
For more information
Breath of Life
1-800-561-3378 or 510-763-7045