The Vicente Ferrer Foundation opens a Pediatric Hospital in Bathalapalli, India
The center will have 75 beds, an outpatient clinic, a pediatric intensive care unit, and a neonatal care unit
The FVF wants to fight high rates of maternal and infant mortality in rural areas of Andhra Pradesh
Anantapur, August 12, 2010.- On Sunday 15 August, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation will open a pediatric hospital in the Indian city of Bathalapalli, to meet the specific health needs of children. The center has 75 beds, an outpatient clinic, an intensive care unit specializing in pediatrics, and a neonatal care unit. To date, in Bathalapalli there was only one pediatric unit with capacity for 15 patients, which was overflowing and could not treat the most severe cases.
Anna Ferrer, President of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, recalls how the project was born. “Two years ago I visited the pediatric unit of the Bathalapalli General Hospital and after checking the number of monthly admissions, we find it necessary to expand the capacity of childcare in rural areas of Anantapur. Every month we had to divert about 300 cases to other centers. At that point, the idea of building a pediatric hospital began to be developed. The hospital would allow health care in rural areas and the families of these children, from very impoverished communities, would not have to take them to Bangalore, which means leaving their villages and losing working hours and part of their wages.”
The center is a new and modern building prepared for surgery to neonates and care for children up to 15 years old with chronic illness or acute health problems requiring specialized care. It is expected that at least 50,000 patients will be assisted at the outpatient clinic per year. The hospital can also deal with cases of malnutrition and meet the vaccination needs of about ten thousand children each year.
The new facilities are also ready to host medical training activities for personnel working for the network of rural clinics started up by the VFF.
“Our goal is to further contribute to improving the health and welfare of children in poor areas of the Anantapur District, through our hospitals and our Rural Health Network. That is why we are also considering the use of the center as a medical training facility. Specialists in pediatrics from the Hospital will train health care practitioners attending the 20 rural clinics in the organization. We think that in this way we contribute to improving child health care, not only in the new center, but also with locally available resources,” explains Moncho Ferrer, Associate Director of the VFF.
The most vulnerable population
Last year India was the country where most children under 5 died in the world. The main causes of infant mortality are low birth weight, birth injuries, diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections. Malnutrition is present in half of the cases and it commonly begins in the maternal womb. In recent years, statistics show a favorable trend but it is not consistent across the country: mortality is worse in rural areas, among poor families, and in places where prenatal care is inadequate and where the pregnancy rate is very high at very young ages, leading to high rates of infant mortality.
A health network accessible to all
The pediatric hospital is part of the FVF efforts to build an infrastructure network and ensure access to health care for rural communities in the state of Andhra Pradesh, in southeastern India. Three hospitals of reference, a family planning center, and a center for people with HIV, along with a network of 20 rural clinics, are already working. In the health area, medical training has been provided to 1,295 health practitioners.
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IMAGES OF THE NEW FACILITIES CAN BE OBTAINED IN THE PRESS SECTION OF THE FVF WEB, FOLLOWING THESE LINKS:
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Anne Ferrer, who has been working as a social worker in rural parts of Andhra Pradesh, received the Jamnalal Bajaj Award 2015 for her contribution in the field of development and welfare of Women and Children in India.
The telephone rings. It is the 1,098 time the VFF staff in India answer the urgent needs of the community using the anonymous help line. 24 hours, 7 days a week urgent calls of a wide variety come in and much needed support is given immediately.