Da Nang Women & Children´s Hospital Upgrade & Renovations
Vietnam has made successful strides to reduce its infant mortality rate from 44.4 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 19.32 per 1,000 in 2015. The country still has much work to do as it is ranked at 86th on the United Nations infant mortality rankings.
Da Nang is Vietnam’s third-largest city and its main hospital, Da Nang General Hospital, serves a local population of 887,069, as well as infants and children from the central and highland areas. The hospital’s Pediatric Department is the largest in central Vietnam and cares for an average of 400-500 in-patients per day, despite having only 300 beds.
The Department of Pediatrics neonatal team has received world-class training from experts such as Dr. Steven Ringer, Chief of Neonatology at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who praised the team’s skill, dedication, hunger for knowledge and innovative strategies to improve their capacity.
Training and equipment supported by generous donors and volunteers have contributed significantly to the relatively high level of care currently provided by the Pediatric Department. As a result, the unit is now a regional referral site for 5 provinces and neonatal mortality has decreased from 6.2 in 2012 to 2.1 per 1000 live births in 2015. However, when compared with minimum metrix for International Standards of Excellence, the Da Nang Department of Pediatrics is severely under-resourced.
In 2009, the Da Nang Department of Health, in recognition of the needs of the infants and children of central Vietnam and the work of the Department of Pediatrics, decided to create the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. With the assistance from The VinaCapital Foundation and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Vietnam (RMIT), the new hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the High Dependency Unit (HDU) are now on a par with the best facilities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, enabling Da Nang to move closer to international standards of pediatric care.
RMIT and VCF completed the designs for the NICU and the HDU. The designs follow the best practices of Australasia including elements standard in developed countries, such as one incubator per baby with a backup power system, a clean air system, multiple sinks for hand washing to reduce infection, and controllable lighting systems. The new units provide care for up to 50 critically-ill babies.
Construction and upgrades to the new facility were completed and the new facilities were opened in April 2011.
These new facilities have greatly improved the care and survival of infants in central Vietnam. They have also helped the hospital to meet its target of reducing infant mortality to a minimum of 1% per year. The creation of a more controlled environment through management of access, lighting, and noise will significantly improve the health outcomes of neonates, and improved infection controls ensure that the infants’ recovery is not compromised by cross-infections.
The RMIT/VCF design also closely involves parents in the healthcare and management of their babies, which aligns with international best practices as well as with Vietnamese traditional culture in which the family is the core unit of attachment.
The new Neonatal Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit has become a regional Center of Excellence in healthcare and medical training. The doctors and nurses will directly save the lives of thousands of infants and children, including the most disadvantaged ones from the region’s rural and ethnic minority areas, and help further reduce Vietnam’s infant mortality rate.
Da Nang Women & Children´s Hospital´s neonatal ICU was designed and constructed with special features for neonates including positive air pressure, special lighting, isolation for infectious disease and infection control, and equipped following best practices for Australasia and internationally recognized exemplary standards of pediatric care.
42 pieces of life-saving equipment (valued at 194,000 USD) have been donated to the unit.
Telemedical Training Program
In 2013, in conjunction with the acclaimed newborn care team at Harvard Medical School’s teaching hospital Brigham and Women, led by Steven Ringer, MD PhD, VCF began to offer a blended learning program which includes:
- An 8 session telemedicine symposia series on Neonatal Care
- On-site training with the newborn care team here in Vietnam to train the trainers on neonatal procedures, where trainers are encouraged and supported to spread the training in their region
This program was funded by a grant from World Bank and Australian Aid.
(Updated until March 2020)
- 33 doctors and 63 nurses have been trained in neonatal resuscitation and life-saving procedures.
- 10 doctors and 14 nurses have been trained to train others in neonatal procedures, and regular training has been conducted at the unit for doctors from referral hospitals.
- 6 ventilators, 17 phototherapy units, 45 continuous positive airway pressure units, 67 infusion pumps, 44 injection pumps, and 7 incubators have been donated to NICU of hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Kon Tum, Cao Bang, Son La, Ha Giang, Yen Bai, Khanh Hoa, Quang Nam, and Quang Ngai.