Project HOPE is on the ground in China helping support health workers and hospitals in Wuhan meet their immediate needs and handle the massive influx of patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms as the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) continues to spread.
China is home to the largest population of children in the world.
Despite rapid economic growth over the past decades and steady improvements in maternal and child health care, China’s health system is not positioned to support this population. According to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, there were only about 118,000 practicing pediatricians in 2016; that’s only one doctor for every 2,300 children.
As the most populous city in China, Shanghai has become a destination for those seeking quality health care. Project HOPE’s Shanghai office works to improve access to high-quality pediatric care in close conjunction with the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, an advanced pediatric medical center and national training resource that HOPE helped plan and establish with the Shanghai municipal government and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine.
- China has 279 million children under 18, accounting for 15% of all children worldwide
- 90,000 new pediatricians are needed to meet the demand for care in China
- There are between six to eight incidences of congenital heart disease per 1,000 live births in China
- The workload for Chinese pediatricians is almost twice as heavy than other medical professions
- Each Chinese pediatrician takes care of 10 times more patients than an American pediatrician
Shortages in the Pediatric Workforce
China suffers from a serious shortage of practicing pediatricians. Compounding the problem, around 17,000 pediatricians left the profession in the past three years, representing about 12% of the practicing population.
In China, pediatricians are subject to long hours with relatively low pay, making pediatrics a less-than-desirable field for medical students. These factors, combined with resource inequity across the country, have led to challenges in providing sufficient medical care for China’s pediatric population.
High Occurrence of Congenital Heart Disease
While China has greatly reduced the mortality rates of infants and children under 5 over the past three to four decades, congenital heart disease remains a significant challenge for the country. CHD is the most common birth defect and has become a leading cause of death for children under 5. Without detection and treatment, approximately one-third of children born with CHD in China would die in less than a year.
Although certain kinds of CHD are treatable, 20-30% of all babies in China born with CHD die from the disease in less than a year. By comparison, in the United States, the one-year mortality rate for infants with CHDs is 17% for critical forms of CHD and 3% for non-critical forms.
Bringing HOPE to Shanghai
Our history in Shanghai
Project HOPE has worked in Shanghai for more than 30 years, beginning with the establishment of a pediatric cardiovascular center in partnership with Shanghai Second Medical University and Xin Hua Hospital in 1983. Later, Project HOPE partnered with the Shanghai municipal government and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine on the planning and development of the Shanghai Childrens Medical Center, which opened in 1998.
Setting the Standard for Pediatric Care
As Project HOPE’s flagship medical program in China, the Shanghai Childrens Medical Center has been providing patients and health care practitioners with valuable medical services for decades. Since opening, the hospital has established a wide variety of programs addressing China’s health needs. HOPE has continued to work with the hospital to integrate multidisciplinary care into pediatric medicine by training health workers, upgrading clinical practice, and installing state-of-the-art medical equipment. The recent opening of a new medical service building has doubled the number of available beds and hospital capacity to serve patients.
The hospital has achieved the highest rank of hospital classification in China and serves as a model for the care of critically ill infants and children and health sciences education programs. It is also home to an integrated family-center that emphasizes the importance of a family’s presence and support when children are admitted in acute-care settings.
Today, the Project HOPE Shanghai office collaborates closely with the hospital to train and mentor pediatric health professionals from less developed areas in China to implement innovative pediatric care practices with a particular focus on critical care, cardiology, radiology, clinical nutrition and the management of noncommunicable diseases (including asthma, diabetes and epilepsy). Leveraging international connections, our Shanghai office also facilitates a pediatric medicine international exchange program to improve children’s health and save lives in China and around the world.
Our Shanghai office also implements programs on cervical cancer prevention, patient and health worker safety, and chronic respiratory disease management, such as the China Alliance of Respiratory Diseases program. CARD, which concluded in early 2019, reduced the burden of respiratory diseases and asthma by establishing expert-guided standardized care protocols and training health care professionals across China.
“SCMC, which in its 20 years has become a state-of-the-art treatment center and a model for successful children’s hospitals around the world, is a shining example of how a commitment to respect and partnership can have a profound and lasting impact.” – Dr. Wang Yi Fei, former president of Shanghai Second Medical University
Thanks to generous donations from partner organizations, Project HOPE has invested more than $37 million into improving people’s health in China.
Every year, the Shanghai Childrens Medical Center sees more than 1.7 million outpatient children and 37,000 hospitalized children, and performs 3,700 lifesaving heart surgeries.
Additionally, tens of thousands of doctors and nurses from China have received training at the hospital to improve their abilities in critical care, clinical nutrition, cardiology, hematology and NCD care and management.
Project HOPE and Shanghai Childrens Medical Center have received numerous honors from both state and medical authorities, including an honorable mention from the American Chamber of Commerce for work in clinical pediatric nutrition. In 2012, then-President and CEO of Project HOPE, John P. Howe III, received the Magnolia Award from the Shanghai government, honoring the organization’s work to improve health communities in Shanghai and the whole of China.
You can help save lives
With the world’s largest population, China represents an important front in the battle for global health. Over the years, Project HOPE has made significant strides in improving the health of men, women and children in all parts of the country. Your donation will help us continue to provide people in countries like China with better health outcomes for the future.