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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

All aspects of paediatric surgery are covered here. I am proud to say that people don’t need to go outside for any kind of [paediatric] medical management.

Dr. Quader is a paediatric surgeon at Heevi teaching hospital in Dohuk city. Thanks to the financial support of the EU through the Trust Fund and the work of Italian NGO AISPO, the hospital now has a new surgical ward which includes more operation theatres. The neonatal intensive care unit, in particular, is of vital importance for the hospital as it helps respond to the needs of newly born babies with serious medical conditions. The ward is equipped with very sophisticated machines, like ventilators, which have a tremendous impact on the survival rate of little patients. Older children’s needs are also addressed: the ward has been planned so that patients in similar age spectrums are dealt with in common areas.

The next step will be making common spaces more entertaining for children: “You know, it’s paediatrics so you see a lot of paintings of famous cartoon heroes on the walls but you want to add some entertainment, so it is our plan to put a small screen in every room to show them some films or kids’ music.”

Before the creation of the new areas, the hospital was in no condition to address the constantly growing medical needs of children: “for every ten cases we operated, two of them survived, the rest did not make it. This is because we did not have ventilation machines,” says Dr. Quader. “After the renovation of the neonatal intensive care unit, outcomes have dramatically improved. The survival rate is now 90 to 95%. In the last six months, we operated on 23 cases of esophageal atresia: only one of them died because of congenital heart disease.”

250 is the average number of surgeries taking place at Heevi hospital every month. “Before, this was not possible,” explains Dr. Quader. Increasing the number of operation rooms to three and having a higher number of surgeons and doctors mean that waiting lists are also dramatically shortened. The waiting period for surgeries does not normally exceed three months. All new operation rooms are now equipped with very advanced machines and all operating staff has been trained to use them properly and to provide assistance in case of need. An engineering department has also been trained for their general maintenance.

The emergency department at Heevi hospital is the first line of contact with patients in need of medical assistance. “We received critically ill children and it is important to say that this is the only hospital in Iraq where a triage system is used,” says Dr. Quader. This means that patients are classified according to color codes: green, yellow and read. Red code patients are taken care of immediately and put under the 24-7 observation of a specialist: “in any emergency situation, we have doctors on call who will be immediately available,” explains Dr. Quader.

The medical team at Heevi hospital works in unison, regardless of the different paediatric disciplines to allow for cooperation in analysing medical cases. This approach has a more positive impact on the outcome of the patient’s prognosis. Doctors and surgeons consult on cases together in order to be able to tackle medical conditions in the best way possible.