Children’s Hospital hosts global health forum

    Health workers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are home after a two-week medical mission to the town of Consuelo in the Dominican Republic. They will join global health experts in Philadelphia Wednesday to discuss how children live — and die — around the world.

    Health workers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are home after a two-week medical mission to the town of Consuelo in the Dominican Republic. They will join global health experts in Philadelphia Wednesday to discuss how children live — and die — around the world.
    (Photo: Soby Philip with some of the children who benefited from the clinic)

    Listen:

    [audio:091125teglobal.mp3]

    Each year teams from Children’s Hospital set up mobile medical clinics in Consuelo to care for the children of factory workers and sugar cane cutters. The hospital’s global health director Dr. Rodney Finalle says his team partners with leaders from local churches and schools to promote breast feeding, immunizations and safe water practices.

    Finalle: The answer is not for a North American hospital like ours to be the primary care giver. Many of these countries are emerging from real poverty. We serve as a catalyst if you will to try and encourage and advocate for children’s health issues.

    Five years ago about 15 percent of the clinic children were severely malnourished. Finalle says today it’s rare to find children so underfed that they are at risk of dying.

    Many clinic patients had limited access to clean water, so the Philadelphia team urged young mothers to breast feed to protect their babies’ health.

    Finalle: Breast feeding is clearly the safest way to provide nutrition in that you don’t need to rely on water that’s not pure, and it also provides really good immune protection for these babies who are at risk to get disease that causes them to die, the diarrhea that’s caused by a virus, or the pneumonia that’s caused by bacteria.

    Occupational therapist Soby Philip was one of the volunteers. She screened infants for signs of malnutrition and developmental delays. She says the team also encouraged teen moms to keep breast feeding.

    Philip: Because of the lack and access to clean water, we wanted to make sure that they were breast feeding because we didn’t want them to mix the water that they were getting from the tap into the formula to give to the baby because they end of being more malnutritioned because of the parasites and other things that were happening.

    Around the world, 30,000 children younger than age five die of preventable diseases everyday. That’s according to the nonprofit Action for Global Health.

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