It was a late August day in 2023 when the Medical Center of Dien Bien Dong District, Dien Bien Province, received an emergency case. The fragile newborn, Vang Thanh Thai, was brought to the center weighing a mere 2.1 kg and displayed a pale complexion, struggled with irregular breathing, and showed little signs of survival. Born prematurely at home at 34 weeks, Vang Thanh Thai’s delicate condition called for immediate attention and care.

Witnessing Thai’s illness, his parents embarked on a challenging journey, carrying their child on an old motorcycle, braving over 36 km of rugged mountain roads to reach the Dien Bien Dong District Medical Center. Upon arrival, Thai was promptly placed in an incubator to maintain warmth, while a combination of ventilation and external chest compressions was administered to stimulate a regular heartbeat. With each tender compression, the doctors closely monitored Thai’s respiration, leaving no room for error. Slowly but surely, a flicker of life began to rekindle within the precious little one. The baby’s chest expanded with regular breaths, and his heart beat stronger, circulating blood throughout his body.

After the life-saving intervention, Thai stayed in the incubator, receiving phototherapy to treat jaundice and aid in his recovery. With an IV line ensuring vital fluid supply, the baby peacefully slept, cradled by the attentive medical team.

Thanks to kind-hearted donors, the Survive to Thrive program was able to deliver essential equipment to the Dien Bien Dong District Medical Center, saving Thai and other premature babies. However, many remote mountainous healthcare facilities still lack the necessary equipment, putting these infants at risk during long transfers to higher-level hospitals. Throughout its 13-year journey, Survive to Thrive has supported district-level medical teams in mountainous and remote regions. Thanks to the generosity of many sponsors, we have been able to save and care for over 42,000 babies.

On World Prematurity Day, November 17th, the Survive to Thrive program is committed to continuously rallying support and urging collective efforts to assist disadvantaged rural hospitals and medical centers, saving the precious lives of premature babies in the challenging regions of Vietnam.

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