UNICEF delivered an incubator to the Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth of Vojvodina
For “little giants“ four incubators in three towns in one day
Novi Sad, 15 April 2021 - As part of a major UNICEF campaign So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart which was launched last year with the aim of equipping and modernising neonatal units in Serbia, the city of Novi Sad now has a new incubator. Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia, presented the incubator to the Director of the Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth of Vojvodina, doc. Dr. Jelena Antic, in the presence of Prof. Dr. Ferenc Vicko, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Prof. Dr. Zoran Gojkovic, Provincial Health Secretary, and Goran Jankovic, representative of the Boja Sombor and Vojput companies, who donated funds for the purchase of incubators in Novi Sad.
"In previous years, the Institute for Health Care of Children and Youth of Vojvodina already received a neonatal ventilator, as well as significant equipment and support aimed at preserving family-oriented developmental care for premature babies. The support we receive from UNICEF is enormous, with assistance primarily reflected in the strengthening of our capacities, as well as the professional support we receive, the great commitment of experts and tireless efforts to bring developmental care to the highest standards. The fact is that even in such difficult times, in UNICEF we have a reliable partner we can always count on," said doc. Dr. Jelena Antic, Director of the Institute.
In Serbia, 65,000 children are born every year, of which 4,000 are born prematurely, and every day seven new babies require some kind of urgent support. Premature birth is responsible for more than 60% of newborn deaths.
Owing to the cooperation with leading national experts in the field of neonatology, in the period from 2017 to date, UNICEF has defined a number of measures supporting intensive neonatal care units in eight health institutions in Nis, Kragujevac, Belgrade and Novi Sad. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF also provided 12 neonatal ventilators for the intensive care of premature babies in these institutions. Since 2017, UNICEF has invested a total of 36,928,892.00 dinars in the modernisation of the neonatal service in Serbia.
"Premature babies fight for their lives from the moment they are born. In order to provide them with the best conditions, it is necessary to continue working on the improvement of neonatal units and to strengthen the capacities of doctors who provide support to these babies without which they would not survive. At the same time, we must create conditions, despite the challenges of the pandemic, in which constant contact among parents, mom and dad, and the newborn is fostered, which is crucial for their emotional bonding and thus for the growth and development of the child. I would like to thank everyone who responded to our appeal and who, with their donations, enabled us to continue to raise the standards of neonatal intensive care units with new equipment, on which UNICEF has been working hard, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, since 2017. I invite others to join us as well, because solidarity and unity are the best answer to everything we face in times of great challenges," said Deyana Kostadinova, UNICEF Representative in Serbia.
The So Small They Could Fit Inside a Heart campaign was supported by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, with which UNICEF has been cooperating intensively on improving the operation of the neonatal service in Serbia since 2017.
"UNICEF is an important partner, and support to neonatal care modernisation in Serbia is one of the priorities we have been working on since 2017. That support is especially important during a pandemic, because babies and children must receive the best care regardless of the circumstances. We would like to thank UNICEF and everyone who donated funds, because only together can we address all challenges and ensure that these vulnerable babies get the best possible start in life," said Prof. Dr. Ferenc Vicko, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health.
"UNICEF is our important partner with whom we cooperate in numerous areas. However, child health and development must remain a priority in all contexts - including the ongoing pandemic, and I must say that UNICEF has remained committed to improving the work of perinatal, and especially neonatal healthcare this and last year. In the first wave of the pandemic, UNICEF provided, inter alia, 12 neonatology ventilators last year, and today it is delivering 4 incubators, one in Novi Sad and Kragujevac and two in Nis, and we are grateful for such support," stated Prof. Dr. Zoran Gojkovic, Provincial Health Secretary.
Owing to the response of 4992 individuals and 161 companies, during this campaign alone, in the period from November 2020 to date, UNICEF collected more than 10 million dinars, which enabled the purchase of four incubators, one for Novi Sad and Kragujevac, while two incubators are going to Nis. One device for neonatal therapeutic hypothermia is intended for the Institute of Neonatology in Belgrade, and two resuscitation tables will be delivered to Kragujevac in June.
"Boja Sombor and Vojput donated funds for the procurement of incubators, because we have recognised UNICEF as a counterpart who can bring together companies and partners around a common goal. And when that goal is support to premature babies so that they get a chance at life, there is no dilemma, and I am certain we made a good decision and I am convinced that we will continue our cooperation in other areas," said Goran Jankovic, director of Boja Sombor and Vojput, companies which provided a donation for the purchase of incubators in Novi Sad.
UNICEF will continue to procure the necessary equipment and provide support to neonatal intensive care units to reach European standards. This includes implementing the principle of family-oriented developmental care as a vital step towards improving outcomes in terms of mortality, illness and development of children born prematurely and with health issues.
Premature babies also need support after leaving the hospital, because they are at a higher risk of developmental delays and learning difficulties. Therefore, engagement and work with families to facilitate early recognition of developmental delays and timely intervention are crucial for the health and future of the child, especially for children born prematurely.
UNICEF calls on citizens and the business community to continue to help with their donations, demonstrating the power of unity and helping the most vulnerable babies get the best start in life.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia