ON Semiconductor Supports Constanța Hospital's NICU in Romania
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one in 10 babies, or 50 million worldwide, are born prematurely every year before 37 weeks of pregnancy are completed. These babies face a higher risk of complications and lower rates of survival, thus requiring optimal use of technology and specialized care to make it past the difficult first days and weeks of their lives. A Romanian phrase, “Unu și Unu,” or “One and One”, is a metaphor referring to these special, extraordinary children who overcome the struggle for their lives due to medical complications and limitations such as premature birth.
In 2019, ON Semiconductor awarded a grant to the Unu și Unu Association, an organization based in Romania working to help premature babies overcome health challenges early in their lives. Established in 2013 and a member of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), the Unu și Unu Association has a mission to improve baby health through prevention, information and education of society about abandoned babies, early delivery, support for premature babies and hospitalized babies, as well as ongoing follow-up care of children until the age of 18.
The grant supported the Association’s project “Little Human in Therapy,” which implemented Family and Infant Neurodevelopmental Care Education (FINE) training sessions for neonatal medical workers at the St. Andrei County Emergency Clinical Hospital in Constanța, Romania. In addition, the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) was equipped with the necessary materials and medical supplies to initiate the project’s evidence-based model of family centered care. This initiative supports the approximately 300 hospitalized premature babies that are cared for in the neonatal department each year.
These initiatives played a key role in helping to modernize Constanța hospital’s NICU department, which now offers medical services of the highest standard. The program model and mentoring were supported by the Marie Curie Hospital in Bucharest, Romania. Dr. Livica Frățiman, head of the neonatology department at the Constanța Hospital, helped to lead the initiation of the FINE training for medical staff, which embraced the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills around family centered care methods. The materials and knowledge acquired by the medical team at the FINE Level 1 course held in May 2019 also assisted in integrating parents in the care of babies hospitalized long-term.
Through the integration of parental education in the FINE courses for the medical team, parents were taught to practice Kangaroo Care, a method of developmental care in which an infant is held skin-to-skin with a parent to promote an emotional bond, within a properly equipped environment and under staff supervision. Parents benefited from educational resources such as brochures, guides and seminars on these medical topics. Babies also received pacifiers tailored to their needs and age, which provided support during medical procedures and simulated breastfeeding.
The grant enabled the neonatal department to purchase materials that assist in creating an environment as close as possible to the intrauterine one for babies hospitalized at birth. Babies were protected from neon light by incubator covers that adjusted to their sleep rhythm, and nests made from cloths and beddings provided a similar environment to a mother's womb. Creating an environment that takes into account the developmental needs of newborns increases the quality of life for babies, in addition to contributing to positive health outcomes well into adulthood.
Mirela Lazăr, neonatology nurse at the St. Andrei Emergency County Clinical Hospital in Constanța, who is currently taking the FINE Level 2 training, expressed positive sentiments about the project’s outcomes:
“The medical team from Constanța is delighted to work in the new unit, which is equipped with the latest generation equipment. The Unu și Unu Association provided the materials for the baby nests which help us provide the best positioning, comfy and soft like in the mother’s womb. In addition, premature babies received proper pacifiers for their age and size to develop their sucking reflex - another important item for implementing family centered care. Parents now have a full spectrum of educational resources to be more prepared to care for their tiny baby, and proper chairs to hold their baby in a relaxed environment. We are grateful to all our sponsors and happy to have all the needs covered to provide the best possible care in the neonatal unit.”
From October through December 2020, the Unu și Unu Association contracted local suppliers and producers of neurodevelopmental and educational materials to provide the items needed to implement the family centered care model thanks to ON Semiconductor’s grant:
300 quides about the care of long-hospitalized babies
150 brochures about parents' first steps in the neonatology department
One folding stand and information materials for parents
Seven video seminars for parents developed by the Unu și Unu Association
Five folding chairs for practicing “Kangaroo Mother” care
400 pieces of cloth bedding to create nests for babies in incubators
140 pieces of muslin cloths to line the nests
45 incubator covers
80 Philips’ WeeThumbie pacifiers for babies up to 30 weeks old
100 Philips’ WeeSoothie pacifiers for babies over 30 weeks old
Ruxandra Nan, vice president of Unu și Unu Association, stated:
“We appreciate ON Semiconductor’s support in financing this project. We also thank the medical team that chose to implement family-centered care to increase the quality of medical care for newborns and their families. Many thanks to Dr. Livica Frățiman for her collaboration and dedication to improving the health of sick babies. Additionally, our thanks go out to chief nurse Daniela Frățilă and the team of nurses for their logistical assistance in receiving these donations.”
ON Semiconductor was happy to provide a grant to Unu și Unu Association in support of these vital healthcare services for premature babies and their families. By helping to improve the clinical methods and supply of healthcare materials within the NICU in St. Andrei County Emergency Clinical Hospital, many more “Unu și Unu” babies will be set to experience healthier and happier lives well into the future.
Learn more about this project at https://unusiunu.com/proiecte/family-centered-care-constanta/ and for more information about how ON Semiconductor supports the local communities where it has operations, visit ON Semiconductor Foundation.