China Cal’s program to train county doctors to properly examine newborns is progressing as planned. With the help of a grant from The Ping and Amy Chao Foundation of Los Altos, CA, China Cal has added an evaluation component and a University of California, Irvine Program In Public Health PhD graduate student. Ms Fangqi Guo, who will be the principal investigator for an evaluative study of the training program, will work with the China Cal team in Yunnan for several months this year. We are also grateful to the Masimo Corporation for their kind gift of 125 pulse oximeters to be used in each of the rural Yunnan county hospitals for screening newborns for critical congenital heart disease.
The following is a summary of PhD candidate Fangqi Guo’s research plan.
Undiagnosed congenital cardiac shunt lesions with pulmonary hypertension and critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) kill 3 to 4 of every thousand children in developing countries. Most of these heart defects are completely curable if discovered early in life. Yunnan Province is a slowly developing province of China. The estimated number of infants that die from these heart defects is about 400 per year. Pulse oximetry is an effective screening method to detect CCHD in very early stage. We will provide rural Yunnan county hospitals, where most babies are now born, with equipment and training for doctors and nurses responsible for the care of neonates. We will train these doctors regarding proper neonatal cardiac examination. We will evaluate the increased knowledge and change in behaviour of these trainees. Though rural Yunnan is one of the poorest regions of China, both medical insurance options and financial assistance mechanisms are growing and the level of medical care is continuously improving. The conditions for increased awareness and discovery of undiagnosed congenital heart cases are therefore ideal for addressing this problem in Yunnan Province.
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