An outreach team from Shanghai Children's Medical Center(SCMC) and Project HOPE traveled to JianShui County People Hospital (建水县人民医院) which is a bumpy 4-hr hour drive from Kunming in the Yunnan Province to celebrate International Children’s Day last month by hosting a free clinic day for children. It was a very successful event with an overflow of parents and grandparents bringing their children to see the SCMC doctors and specialists. There was no shortage of questions on this particular day for sure! Several parents brought children with Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and similar diseases with hope to learn of a cure or new treatment options; your heart can’t help but ache with the parents when you see their faces after learning that there is still no cure.
Our team also brought along teaching materials, toys for the children, and practical fun gifts for the families. In addition, SCMC also donated new equipment to the JianShui Hospital and will be bringing some children back to SCMC for free cardiac heart surgeries that are not available locally. As this area is home to a subset of the 56 minority groups within China, our team had the added challenge of communicating with patients and families that spoke limited Mandarin, but with determination and help from the local nursing staff, communication was bridged and understanding was achieved.
The JianShui Hospital leaders were very grateful for the outreach program and key local government leaders came to thank the team for such a heartfelt public event. It certainly was such an honor to be part of the team and there were many impressive aspects that stood out in my mind and wholeheartedly touched my heart. I’ll touch on two in particular here.
The first was the SCMC/HOPE staff on hand. You can see first-hand exemplary execution of team work, the genuine dedication and passion for the cause and work at hand, the support for each other as well as the lack of arrogance that I sometimes see in other cultures.
The second was the JianShui Hospital’s renovation wonder and superb leaders! The hospital’s much needed renovation was funded by hospital revenue and money from the doctors themselves, not the government as it typically is in China! I suspect it has much to do with the two humble women leaders that are running the hospital and the cohesion of the staff they cultivated. It mirrors that of a super functioning family as they eat, work, drink and sing together! Our team got to experience of bit of that family spirit as the JianShui staff took superb care of our team and were absolutely outstanding hosts! The hospital revenue generation is amazing and inspirational to say the least. The hospital charges 2 RMB or the equivalent $0.32 USD to see a patient so you can just imagine the volume of patients they need to see to cover the hospital operations and use towards reconstruction. I believe this is an example of the determination and dedication of the Chinese people to help themselves and also an illustration of what it will take to advance China on the healthcare radar map one step at a time!
On the way back to SCMC, a subset of SCMC staff visited with the Kunming hospital to follow-up on collaboration initiatives as the Kunming hospital was constructing a children’s hospital building with expanded service capabilities. What I got to see first-hand and had confirmed repeatedly is that the SCMC model is desirable, effective and highly sought by all other children’s hospitals throughout China. Both the SCMC and HOPE leaders, such as Dr. Liu Jinfen, Lily Hsu and Stuart Myers, Senior Vice President, are always thinking of innovative ways to scale the SCMC model and capabilities to regions within and outside of China.
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