On the Front Lines of Newborn Care

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Evangeline Garcia, known to just about everyone as Nurse Vangie, has spent half her 23-year nursing career at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in the Philippines. With an average of 60 babies born every day in its wards, this national maternal and newborn facility serves the greater Manila area, and has been called the “world’s busiest hospital.”

In her long career, 2012 stands out as a special year for Nurse Vangie. That’s when the Thrive Networks Newborn Health Program began providing Fabella’s newborn wards with equipment, training, and support. Nurse Vangie, who has four children of her own, says the program supported the hospital’s nurses to deliver higher quality newborn care and has been “a big help to all our preterm babies in distress.”

Nurse Vangie says the Newborn Health Program has been “a big help to all our preterm babies in distress.”

Since 2012, Fabella Hospital has received more than 20 medical devices from Thrive Networks. Nurse Vangie and the other nurses use them every day to treat newborns for conditions like respiratory distress, hypothermia, and jaundice. That’s a lot of wear and tear, but the machines, designed and manufactured for ease of use and durability, can handle the workload.

Asked for an example of how the program has helped, she explains about phototherapy, which is used to treat jaundice, a fairly common condition in newborns. Without adequate phototherapy, a newborn can develop a build up of toxins in the blood, and require a total blood transfusion to prevent disability or even death.

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“Before the Newborn Health Program brought intensive phototherapy to Fabella, we didn’t have good equipment, so we often had to perform exchange transfusions on these tiny babies. Now we rarely do the procedure,” explains Nurse Vangie, with evident relief.

But the medical devices are only half the story. Soon after the first machines were delivered to Fabella, Nurse Vangie and several of her colleagues participated in a multi-day training, organized by Thrive Networks, on intensive newborn care. This core group of “master trainers” has since gone on to train hundreds of their peers, both at Fabella and at other hospitals throughout the Philippines.

Nurse Vangie and a core group of “master trainers” have trained hundreds of their peers at hospitals throughout the Philippines.

Medical providers like Nurse Vangie are on the front lines providing life-saving care at hospitals throughout the Philippines where the Newborn Health Program is active. Their commitment to providing quality care and sharing their skills and knowledge is key to the program’s success.