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Hung Vuong Hospital Opens Care Center for Babies Born to Mothers With Covid-19

As the coronavirus makes its way across Saigon and Vietnam, maternity care has become a particularly serious issue as more and more pregnant residents are getting infected.

As Thanh Nien reports, on August 25, the Hung Vuong Obstetrics Hospital officially launched the HOPE Center in District 5 with the specific goal  caring for babies with mothers afflicted with COVID-19. In these cases, it’s highly likely that the entire household is COVID-19 positive and in quarantine, so the newborns are without caretakers while their mothers are fighting the disease.

The name for the center stands for Have Only Positive Expectations. It was established with support from the HCMC People’s Committee, the District 5 People’s Committee, the municipal health department, Hoa Mi 2 Kindergarten and the HCMC Women’s Association.

Hung Vuong Hospital is in charge of operating the nursery and providing medical training. According to Dr. Hoàng Thị Diễm Tuyết, the hospital director, her facility has treated nearly 1,000 prospective mothers and 500 babies born to mothers who are COVID-19 positive during the current outbreak. 

These include cases where babies die in utero due to COVID-19 complications, babies are born prematurely, and healthy births. However, rarely do mothers pass on their infection to babies (only 1% of cases).

“While Ho Chi Minh City undergoes Directive 16, mothers with COVID-19 are required to quarantine in central facilities, so the number of newborns without caretakers is rising quickly,” she explained in Vietnamese. “Currently, the hospital has 130 babies born to infected mothers, over 50 of whom are ready to be discharged, but there’s no family member available to pick them up.”

At the moment, the HOPE Center has 25 volunteers, though more are needed to take care of the babies as Saigon’s case numbers grow.

According to Dr. Đinh Anh Tuấn, from the Ministry of Health, pregnant women are just as likely to get COVID-19 as other vulnerable groups, but pregnant patients are much more prone to complications than others. When mothers have respiratory distress, this could lead to a lack of oxygen in the fetus, miscarriages, or even stillbirths.

Moreover, when pregnant women carry comorbidities like hypertension, gestational diabetes or too much weight gained during pregnancy, their fight with COVID-19 could progress to moderate or severe quickly.

[Photos via Nong Nghiep]