In June, the CMF team and volunteers visited the Neonatal Department at Guangzhou Women & Children’s Medical Center (GWCMC), CMF’s partner and premiere training hospital for the Comprehensive Neonatal Health Care Project for Yunnan. Chaperoned by volunteer Mary McHale, summer interns Ruiyi Gao from Yale University, Kevin Shi and Athena Li, both from Crystal Springs Uplands School in California, USA, expressed their excitement for the opportunity to participate in this educational trip.

Dr. Wei Mou guided us through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where entry and environment was highly controlled for light, sound and temperature. He presented strategies and treatments for caring for critically-ill newborns and neonates diagnosed with complicated diseases. Along with advanced neonatal skills, the NICU boasted an impressive inventory of advanced equipment for their daily use. For example, each baby had a monitor that could automatically alert staff to excessive noise.  Also Dr. Wei introduced different types of neonatal ventilators and explained their usage according to each patient’s individual situation.  To shorten the diagnosis process, the NICU department purchased its own hematology analyzer. As a result, assessment reports are submitted to doctors’ desktops within 5 minutes.

The combination of advanced equipment and medical professionals skilled in neonatal care, equipped the GWCMC team with the capacity to treat babies with extremely low weight, deliver high quality post-operative care and treat other difficult cases and complicated diseases.

However, there exists a wide gap in clinical skill and availability of equipment between first-tier cities like Guangzhou and rural China. CMF’s effort to close the gap is an imperative step to lower the neonatal mortality rate and to stop these preventable deaths of babies born in rural China.