Save the Children: "The smallest room", a chance for life

English Section / 21 mai

Save the Children: "The smallest room", a chance for life

Versiunea în limba română

Our country registers an infant mortality rate that places us on the negative podium of the EU, competing for first place with Bulgaria. Romania has a chronic shortage of neonatologists, respectively 40%, and the average age expressed in years for the equipment related to the neonatology specialization is 8 years, in the conditions where the latest generation medical equipment makes a crucial difference in terms of saving newborns with extreme prematurity or serious medical pathologies. The Save the Children Romania organization launched the "Smallest Room" campaign - a space of only 0.2 square meters, the size of an incubator, which can make the difference between life and death for these children. The smallest room can be made available to hospitals that need it, by redirecting 3.5% of the income tax to the Save the Children Organization. Adriana Dan, Head of the Neonatology Department at the Bucharest University Emergency Hospital, explained the urgency of equipping the neonatology and maternity wards with state-of-the-art medical equipment: "Few people know that the greatest risk of death in a child's life is during the neonatal period; approximately 50% of all child deaths occur in the first 28 days of life, and the spectacular reduction in the number of deaths at the age of 0-1 years in the last 30 years is not proportional for all age subcategories: neonatal mortality has decreased much less compared to the other age stages. With all that has been achieved, we still record infant mortality indicators compared to the EU average, the main cause (in more than a third of the cases) being the medical equipment needed in the neonatal intensive care units to be highly performing and periodically upgraded to be responsive to the needs of babies of 24-25 weeks of gestation and 500 grams". According to the final data of the INS, in 2022, the infant mortality rate preserves the major discrepancies between the country's counties. The counties with the high infant mortality rate are: 1. Sălaj - 10.5 per thousand live births;

2. Mehedinti - 8.8 per thousand; 3. Brăila - 8.3 per thousand; 4. Hunedoara - 8.3 per thousand; 5. Mures - 7.8 per thousand; 6. Suceava - 7.8 per thousand live births. The lowest infant mortality rate: 1. Bucharest Municipality - 2.5 per thousand live births; 2. Ilfov - 3.3 per thousand; 3. Alba - 3.6 per thousand; 4. Ialomiţa - 3.9 per thousand;

5. Cluj - 4.5 per thousand; 6. Tulcea - 4.7 per thousand.

From 2010 until now, the Save the Children Organization has equipped 126 medical units (neonatology wards, neonatal intensive care, pediatrics and Obstetrics-Gynecology wards) from all counties of the country, with over 1,770 pieces of vital equipment, investing over 11 million Of euro. In 2023 alone, Save the Children equipped more than 55 medical units with high-performance equipment, ensuring survival and adequate treatment for at least 60,000 children. "We did pioneering work in the field and, after 14 years, the program has become an extensive one, both in vulnerable communities and in terms of strengthening the capacity of hospitals in saving and caring for newborns. We have the best partners in doctors and thus we manage to concretely support the medical system with what is necessary, but the efforts must be consolidated with coherent health policies that correct the disparities", said Gabriela Alexandrescu, Executive President of the Save the Children Organization.

According to data centralized at the level of the European Union for the year 2021, Romania is in 2nd place in the EU in terms of infant mortality, Eurostat statistics show. Thus, in 2021 Bulgaria had an infant mortality rate of 5.6 per thousand live births, followed by Romania, with a rate of 5.2 per thousand and Slovakia, where the infant mortality rate was 4.9 per thousand children born alive. At the opposite pole, the lowest infant mortality rate is recorded in Sweden, Finland and Slovenia with 1.8 per thousand live births.