From July 21st to 25th, 2022, the CMF Program Team conducted a benchmark study in Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, to kickstart our two-year program tackling neonatal healthcare.

Nujiang Needs Help

Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in northwestern Yunnan and is named after the Nujiang river and the Lisu ethnic group. Enveloped by rolling mountains and valleys, Nujiang is one of the most deeply impoverished regions in China, with lacking socioeconomic development and very restricted transportation access.

Given the prefecture’s remoteness and underdevelopment, neonatal healthcare is significantly lacking. In Nujiang, 1 out of 10 infants passes away before their first birthday. Moreover, as shown in the graphs below, the four counties CMF visited have a higher mortality rate for infants and children under 5 years of age when compared to Yunnan’s provincial and national average. In Gongshan, a county within Nujiang, the infant mortality rate (IMR) is almost 5 times Yunnan and nearly 8 times the global IMR.

What Accounts For the Loss?

During the pregnancy, adequate maternal care is difficult to be delivered to mothers while there is not enough intervention to prevent high-risk pregnancies. Even after childbirth, the minority parents or caregivers often lack well-informed parenting knowledge and skills and thus unable to identify how common diseases of infants can be life-threatening.

At the same time, medical infrastructure and capacity are under-developed. There are only 15 doctors and 26 nurses who possess neonatal medical knowledge in Nujiang, which resulted in insufficient medical professionals in screening at the grassroots level. Also, despite the establishment of the neonatal rescue center, rescue and treatment capacity is unstandardized and falling behind.

Newborn baby sleeping inside an incubator

CMF Program team with Mr. Wang Kui and Dr. Gao Jin at The First People’s Hospital of Lushui County 

The Gift of Life: CMF Takes Action

Led by Mr. Wang Kui from Yunnan Provincial Health Commission  (YNPHC) and Dr. Gao Jin from Kunming Children’s Hospital, CMF visited four counties, including Lushui County, Fugong County, Gongshan Derung and Nu Autonomous County, and Lanping Bai and Pumi Autonomous County.

CMF was invited by YNPHC to work together in Nujiang to improve the neonatal health care system and further reduce the local infant mortality rate. We hope to bring our expertise from our experience in our Comprehensive Neonatal Healthcare Project (CNHP) and Every Baby Rescued (EBR) programs to reduce the preventable death of neonates efficiently.

First, CMF provides neonatal resuscitation and other life-saving skills training and equipment necessary to establish a specialized hospital unit for critically ill newborn babies. Our “Train-the-trainer” model ensures that health workers can regularly keep up-to-date with their skills and pass on their knowledge to their peers.

Second, to strengthen the rescue system, CMF will provide the necessary equipment to enable healthcare professionals to treat their young patients effectively and timely. We will also develop a “Baby Booklet” for minority parents and health workers to prevent and control infectious diseases.

Minority Mother carrying her child in the hospital

Interviewing the Chief of Gongshan People’s Hospital

An in-depth discussion with doctors and nurses at Nujiang People’s Hospital

Screens and interviews medical professionals to evalute their knowledge

Once established, our sustainable program will be integrated into the public healthcare system and provides improved and life-saving medical care to at least 6,600 babies born in Nujiang annually.

If you share our vision to save infants’ lives, please… consider making a donation. Your support can ensure that we can continue to bring life-saving newborn health care to babies and families who still do not have access to this basic need. Together, we can reduce preventable deaths and benefit generations.