Niš, June 15, 2021 – Today, UNICEF donated a therapeutic hypothermia device to the Pediatric Internal Diseases Clinic of the University Medical Centre (UMC) in Niš, which was procured under the auspices of the So Small They Could Fit Inside the Heart campaign, launched to equip and modernize neonatal units in our country.
The device for therapeutic hypothermia of asphyxiated newborns, which was provided thanks to a donation from the family company PETITE GENEVA PETROVIĆ, is intended to prevent brain damage in newborns who experienced some form of brain suffering due to lack of oxygen before, during or immediately after birth. This is the largest single donation in the campaign so far, worth 5 million dinars, In addition to this valuable device, two resuscitation tables have also been donated, which will arrive at the Neonatology Clinic of the University Medical Centre in Kragujevac in the coming days
On behalf of UNICEF Serbia, Jelena Kovačević officially handed over the device to the Assistant Director of UMC Niš, in charge of internal affairs, Professor Radivoje Kocić, MD, and the head of the Pediatric Internal Diseases Clinic of the University Medical Centre in Niš, Professor Emilija Golubović, MD.
“Today, I would like to express my huge gratitude to UNICEF for its long-term commitment and partnership, even in the most difficult times. About 2.5 million people gravitate towards Niš and all the equipment we received from UNICEF in the last month is intended for saving lives, treating and taking care of children from the region of Southern and Southeastern Serbia. Premature babies require all our support and attention, and at the time of the COVID pandemic, that support must be even stronger, because we can see that babies can also be infected with the coronavirus. This latest equipment gives us greater opportunities to maximize the quality of health services and care we provide in pediatric clinics and it is an important task to which we are committed. Together with UNICEF and their partners from the private sector, such as PETITE GENEVA PETROVIĆ, we are given an additional boost to persevere with this humanitarian mission “, said the assistant director of the UMC Niš, in charge of internal affairs, Professor Radivoj Kocić, MD.
Every year, 65,000 children are born in Serbia, of which 4,000 are premature babies, and every day, 7 new babies require some kind of urgent medical support. Premature birth is responsible for more than 60% of infant deaths.
“Caring for our fellow citizens, solidarity and responsibility have always been the priorities of our family business. The challenging times we live in have created additional difficulties for premature babies and their parents, whom we want to help them get through the first days of their baby’s birth more easily. Aware of their sensitivity and the strength needed by parents and doctors in the fight to win this most important battle for babies to join their families at home, we have been supporting UNICEF, which is always on the right side – the side of those who are fighting to preserve the most valuable thing – human life.
PETITE GENEVA PETROVIĆ will continue to foster a responsible attitude towards the community in which it operates. We believe that, in the times ahead, we will have the opportunity, in partnership with UNICEF, to support those children whose lives rely on the support of others,” said Petar Petrović, on behalf of PETITE GENEVA PETROVIĆ.
Thanks to the cooperation with leading national experts in neonatology, UNICEF has devised measures to help intensive neonatal care in eight health care institutions in Niš, Kragujevac, Belgrade and Novi Sad from 2017 until today. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as an additional form of support, UNICEF provided 12 neonatal ventilators for the intensive care of premature babies in these institutions.
“We owe big gratitude to UNICEF for being with us and helping us to overcome even the most difficult battles. In addition to this therapeutic hypothermia device, UNICEF also gave us 4 incubators the last month and one neonatal ventilator last year. When babies in your ward weigh only 800 or 900 grams, we have to muster superhuman strength to help them survive and experience a new day and a new month. My colleagues and I remain committed to the further development of perinatal and neonatal care at the Niš clinic and we are counting on the solid partnership with UNICEF in the future, because only together we can achieve results,” said the head of the Pediatric Internal Medicine Clinic of the UMC Niš, Professor Emilija Golubović, MD.
Since 2017, UNICEF has spent a total of 48,187,852.00 dinars on modernizing neonatal care in Serbia and it continues to cooperate with the Ministry of Health, which also supports the So Small They Could Fit Inside the Heart campaign.
“I am very glad to be in Niš again, where we are donating a therapeutic hypothermia device. We owe a lot of gratitude to the PETITE GENEVA PETROVIĆ Company for their generous donation that made it possible for us to donate this device and two resuscitation tables that will soon arrive at the Neonatology Centre in Kragujevac. We launched the So Small They Could Fit Inside the Heart campaign at the end of last year to support neonatal care in Serbia. We had a great response from the private sector, but also individuals who have demonstrated readiness to support us with their donations. In the difficult times we live in, solidarity and a humane attitude towards others are key to overcoming all the challenges we face. In partnership with the Serbian Ministry of Health, UNICEF has been committed to improving the neonatal service in Serbia since 2017. We continue to procure the necessary equipment and provide systemic support to neonatal intensive care units to further reduce the mortality of premature babies, which is our mission to which we remain committed,” said Jelena Kovačević on behalf of UNICEF Serbia.
Thanks to the response of more than 5,105 individuals and 281 small and medium enterprises, during this campaign alone, in the period from November 2020 to date, UNICEF has collected more than 13 million dinars, which enabled the purchase of seven incubators, four of which were delivered to Niš, two to Kragujevac and one to Novi Sad, and another neonatal therapeutic hypothermia device for the Institute of Neonatology in Belgrade in April.
UNICEF would like to thank all citizens and the private sector for the support they have provided, which is a validation that a humane attitude towards the local community is the right answer in such challenging times.