From shoeboxs full of small gifts to state - of - the - art hospital equipment: From a desperate flight through the night to save a dying baby to the situation today. This has been the Gift of the Lions of MD105
Towards the end of the 20th Century a savage civil war raged in Bosnia/Herzegovina which tore the heart out of that beautiful area of Europe. Time passed, a kind of peace descended and the local people began the heartbreaking task of picking up the wreckage of their lives.
The medical infrastructure of the area had effectively been destroyed, with hospitals damaged beyond repair and doctors and nurses unable to train and work. Everyone suffered, but as ever in human conflicts, the most innocent bore the brunt; babies and small children were dying from lack of specialised care.
It was then that the Lions of the British Isles and Ireland entered into a partnership with the charity then known as Child Advocacy International, which was devoted to helping children whose health and life chances have been blighted by war. The partnership, spurred by necessity and with the support of our Lions, took immediate and daring steps. The war at that time was in fact still going on, but during the first year of the partnership 41 critically ill small children, who would otherwise have had no hope of survival, were snatched out of danger and 'medivac'd' to hospitals in our Multiple District where they received life-saving care. Just two of those infants lost the battle, and most of the children - and in some cases the relatives who travelled with them - stayed with Lions' families to convalesce.
41 babies & children medivac'd to UK for life saving treatment
1995 - The Start
1996 - 2006
East & West Mostar Project - BLS & APLS Training Established - Gorazde Children's pediatric ward.
2006 - 2008
Bihac Children's pediatric ward.
2008 - 2013
Banja Luka Children's Hospital- establishment of PICU and NICU.
2013 - present Sarajevo Casualty Department - ongoing work to build and equip resuscitation box and training centre.
1996 - 2010
1. Sarajevo Paediatric Hospital - Establishment of Paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), including long term training for doctors and nurses in hospital paediatrics, obstetrics and neonatology.
2. Oncology department Sarajevo- Establishment of children's oncology department for the treatment of cancer in children in Sarajevo hospital.
3. Sarajevo Maternity Hospital (a tertiary neonatal department).
The Mostar Project
Proposed development of 4 intensive care and 2 high dependency care beds for new born infants and children in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In West Mostar at the Bijlei Brijeg Childrens Department there was a well staffed and effectively functioning paediatric unit with a number of very able consultant paediatricians and junior hospital doctor staff.
In East Mostar at the Brankovac Children's hospital there had been an extremely poorly equipped and almost destroyed health centre which had provided inpatient care for sick children.
In collaboration with UNICEF and Child Advocacy International/Keele University, the EU Administration had been renovating this health centre and converting it into a centre for mother and child health including a delivery suite and emergency caesarean section operating theatre. However, there was only one senior and one junior paediatrician in East Mostar caring for more than 12,000 children.
The Proposal was to carry out the following work:
1.Using existing ward areas in the West Mostar Hospital (Bijeli Brijeg Hospital) one area to contain 2 beds enabling the provision of very high quality modern neonatal intensive care for new born infants born either prematurely or with complications relating to their birth or intrauterine development.
We also provide in a converted ward area, very close to the neonatal intensive care beds, an area containing 2 beds that provides intensive care for older infants and children.
These 4 intensive care beds contain up to date monitoring equipment and facilities to provide assisted ventilation and circulatory support for children from both East and West Mostar and the surrounding area of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The equipment provided was identical to that used in the North Staffordshire Hospital at Keele University. We trained paediatricians from Mostar in the North Staffordshire Hospital which meant that following their training in the UK they would be able to immediately use the new equipment in their own hospital.
Within the newly refurbished Maternal and Child Health Centre in East Mostar we equipped 2 beds for the high dependence care of both infants and children. Facilities to initiate assisted ventilation was available but if this form of treatment was required for any length of time it was expected children would be transferred to West Mostar for further care. Should staffing significantly improve in East Mostar it would be relatively straight forward to upgrade the equipment on the East to convert these high dependency beds into intensive care beds. However, hopefully with improving integration of the city and improving freedom of movement this would not be necessary.
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