GCVOA Medical Project Update

One year ago two doctors and a nurse from Cleveland MetroHealth Center returned from a two week intensive lecture tour to the Volgograd Regional Perinatal Center and the Volgograd Medical Academy. They spoke on subjects dealing with neonatal care and fetal monitoring on this second trip to Russia under a program that has been ongoing for four years. They spoke to halls packed with Russian health care workers, and each gave a report of their findings and recommendations for future work. 
These reports were then distilled to a set of five recommendations that were passed along to the Russia:

  1. Encouragement of preventive measures , by prospective child bearers, such as abstaining from alcohol and smoking;
  2. Implementation of a program concentrating on women at risk for pregnancy and birthing complications;
  3. Expansion of the present training program in resuscitation of new borns;
  4. Maintenance of statistics on infant mortality;
  5. A four step program to transform the Regional Perinatal Clinic into a regional center meeting world standards.

In addition, the American doctors discussed with their Russian colleagues an internship program whereby young Russian physicians could spend several months at MetroHealth. 
The Russians have responded to the recommendations, and now begins the process of implementing them. Many of the recommendations contemplate financial assistance from the US, such as funds for the purchase of antibiotics, for equipment maintenance contracts, and for covering the travel expenses of the interns. Others contemplate the retrieval of Russian language materials and translating into Russian American medical materials. Extensive Russian language materials on the dangers of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, the benefits of taking folates and the advantages of breast feeding have been sent to the Regional Clinic along with additional funds for the repair of a blood gas machine. Efforts to purchase and ship necessary medicines are still in the works and GCVOA is awaiting the written applications from designated physicians from the Russian clinic who are intending to apply for the internship program here.
The four year relationship between the Volgograd Regional Perinatal Center and MetroHealth physicians and nurses stems from a relationship going back more than ten years between the two Cleveland organizations that became GCVOA and their respective Russian sister city organizations located in Volgograd and Volzhsky, respectively. Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, and Volzhsky, a post WW II industrial city, face each other across the mile wide Volga River as it courses towards the Caspian Sea in southeastern Russia. The project resulted from the perceived problem with early infant care and the high rate of infant mortality in the region.
GCVOA has also provided to the Perinatal Center funds for Internet and email access, for the purchase of a new fax machine, for medication for women who have undergone C sections, and a blood gas machine for treatment of infants undergoing respiratory distress. 
The September 1999 trip was the second trip to the area for both the head of neonatology at MetroHealth Center and for the head obstetrical nurse there and the first for the head of the fetal monitoring unit at MetroHealth. In the fall of 1996 a MetroHealth team conducted lectures and demonstrations on resuscitation procedures and discussed with local physicians the importance of systematic training of other pediatricians in resuscitation throughout the region. In the spring of 1997 a team of four from the Regional Center in the TransVolga, including the head obstetrician, pediatrician and pediatric nurse, spent a month at MetroHealth observing procedures here.
Dr. John Moore, chief of Neonatology at MetroHealth Center, was the team leader on both the 1999 and 1996 trips. Dr. Moore was accompanied by Dr. Graham Ashmead, chief of the Fetal Monitoring unit at MetroHealth, and Monica Fundzak, MSN, RNC, NNP.

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