Niš, June 15, 2021 - UNICEF today donated a therapeutic hypothermia device to the Clinic for Children’s Internal Diseases of the Niš UCC, which was procured as part of the So Small They Could Fit Inside the Heart campaign launched in order to equip and modernise neonatal units in our country. The therapeutic hypothermia device for asphictic newborns, provided owing to the donation of the family company PETITE GENEVE PETROVIC, is intended for preventing brain damage in newborns deprived to sufficient oxygen prior to, during or immediately after birth. This is the largest single donation in the campaign so far, amounting to 5 million dinars, funding, in addition to this valuable device, two reanimation tables, which will arrive at the UCC Kragujevac Neonatal Centre in the coming days.
On behalf of UNICEF in Serbia, the appliance was delivered to Prof. Dr. Radivoj Korac, Deputy Director of the Niš UCC for internal medicine activities and Prof. Dr. Emilija Golubovic, Head of the Clinic for Children’s Internal Diseases of the Niš UCC, by Jelena Kovacevic.
"Today I would again like to express my great gratitude to UNICEF for its long-term commitment and partnership even in the most difficult times. In the area surrounding Niš, there are around 2 and a half million inhabitants and all the equipment we have received from UNICEF in the past month is intended for saving lives, treating and providing care to children from all over the South and South-East Serbia region. Prematurely born babies require all our support and attention, and at the time of the pandemic, that support must be even stronger, as we are witnessing that babies also get infected with the virus.
New modern equipment gives us greater opportunities to maximise the quality of health services and care in children's clinics, which is an important task to which we are committed, and with UNICEF and their private sector partners, such as the PETITE GENEVE PETROVIĆ company, we are given additional support to persevere in this humane mission," stated Prof. Dr. Radivoj Kocic, Deputy Director of the Niš UCC for internal medicine activities.
In Serbia, 65,000 children are born every year, 4000 of which are premature, and every day another 7 babies require some form of urgent support. It is premature birth that accounts for more than 60% of newborn deaths.
"Care for our fellow citizens, solidarity and responsibility have always been the priorities of our family company. The challenging time we live in has caused additional difficulties for premature babies and their parents, who we wanted to help to get through the first days of their life. Aware of their vulnerability and the strength needed by parents and doctors in fighting the most important battle, so that babies can join their families, we have provided support to UNICEF, which is always on the right side, the side of those fighting to preserve what is most precious - human life.
PETITE GENEVE PETROVIĆ continues with its responsible attitude towards the community in which it operates and we believe that in times to come we will have other opportunities, in partnership with UNICEF, to support those whose lives rely on the support of other people," stated Petar Petrović, on behalf of the family company PETITE GENEVE PETROVIĆ.
Owing to its co-operation with leading national experts in the field of neonatology, since 2017 UNICEF has set out a series of measures for supporting intensive neonatal care units in eight health institutions in Niš, Kragujevac, Belgrade and Novi Sad. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF also provided 12 neonatal ventilators for intensive care of premature babies in these institutions.
“Great gratitude goes to UNICEF because it walks alongside us and helps us to overcome even the most difficult battles. In addition to this therapeutic hypothermia device, we also received 4 incubators from UNICEF in the past month and 1 neonatal ventilator last year. When you have tiny babies in the ward that weigh 800 or 900 grams, we summon superhuman strength to help them survive and live to see another day and another month. My colleagues and I remain committed to further development of perinatal and neonatal care at the Niš Clinic and count on strong partnership with UNICEF in the following period as well, as only common and joint action can yield results” said Prof. Dr. Emilija Golubović, Head of the Clinic for Children’s Internal Diseases of the Niš UCC.
Since 2017, UNICEF has invested a total of 48,187,852.00 dinars in modernising the operation of neonatal services in Serbia and continues its work in co-operation with the Ministry of Health, which has supported the So Small They Could Fit Inside the Heart campaign.
"I am very pleased to be back in Niš, where today we are donating a therapeutic hypothermia device and enormous gratitude goes to the family company PETITE GENEVE PETROVIĆ for their generous donation that allowed us to provide this device and two reanimation tables that will soon arrive at the Neonatal Centre in Kragujevac. We launched the SO SMALL THEY COULD FIT INSIDE THE HEART campaign late last year with the goal of supporting neonatal services in Serbia, which elicited great response from the private sector, as well as individuals who have shown willingness to support us with their donations. In the difficult times in which we live, solidarity and humane attitude to others are essential in overcoming all the challenges we face.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF has been committed to strengthening neonatal services in Serbia since 2017. We continue to provide necessary equipment and systemic support to intensive neonatal care units in order to reduce further the mortality of premature babies, which is our mission to which we remain committed," said Jelena Kovacevic on behalf of UNICEF Serbia.
Owing to the response of more than 5105 individuals and 281 small and medium-sized enterprises, UNICEF has raised more than 13 million dinars in the period from November 2020 to date, making possible the procurement of seven incubators in total, four of which were delivered to Niš, two to Kragujevac and one to Novi Sad, as well as another therapeutic hypothermia device for newborns, which went to the Institute for Neonatology in Belgrade in April.
UNICEF would like to thank all individuals and the private sector for the support they have provided, which confirms that humane attitude to the community is the right answer in such challenging times.