Volunteers taking care of babies born to COVID-19 mothers in Vietnam

Volunteers taking care of babies whose mothers in Vietnam's virus epicentre

Volunteers in Vietnam taking care of babies whose mothers are Covid-19-infected (Dantri)

By Phong Lan
Deputy Head of the World News Desk Dantri  

HO CHI MINH CITY: Dozens of volunteers are taking care of babies born with Covid-19-infected mothers at a newly-opened centre in the virus hotspot of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

The Have Only Positive Expectations (HOPE) Centre opened in late August by the Hung Vuong Hospital to take care of healthy newborn babies born with Covid-19-infected mothers who are being treated at the hospital.

The centre, which is located at Họa Mi Kindergarten 2 in District 5, is now providing care for 58 infants aged from several days to one month.

Nguyen Thi Hong Que, headmaster of the Hoa Mi Kindergarten 2 said that 40 female volunteers who are mostly teachers, university students, and air cabin crew are staying at the school to take care of the babies.

“At first there were only 22 volunteers but as the number of newborns sent to the centre increased, we’ve had to call for more,” the teacher said. The volunteers aged between 18 and 44 have come to live with the babies whose mothers and other family members are all being treated for Covid-19.”

As many volunteers have no experience in taking care of newborn children, the hospital has co-operated with the school to provide careful training.

Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, 26, is an air cabin crew member living in Go Vap District. She has been laid off due to the virus outbreak and has been actively joined in some Covid-19 prevention activities in the area.

“I used to participate in the vaccination work but after seeing the notice calling for volunteers to take care of the newborns from Hung Vung Hospital, I registered for this work,” Hang said.

The woman said she was not married and had no children so the work was really challenging for the first few days.

“Me and many young unmarried women here had no experience of taking care of infants,” Hang said. “But we have time and especially lots of love for them. We have received proper training for the work and are learning day by day with each child.”

Another volunteer, Nguyen Thi Nghia said that they have developed a love for the babies after a time staying with them.

“We all call them our babies,” Nghia said. “And while we’re happy when their mothers come to get them after recovery, we would easily cry as we miss them a lot.”

Le Ngoc Kim Tuyen, 22, is a fourth-year student of a university in HCM City. She has arrived in the centre for five days.

“I didn’t think much when registering for this work, and I was unaware of how hard it is,” she said with a smile. “I just think that these babies need urgent help so I have to come to them. And I am having sleepless nights living with them. But above all, I know these are meaningful days for me.”

One mother, Doan Thi Quyen, shared that she was so lucky to receive support from the centre for her baby son.

“I’m so happy now that I have recovered from Covid-19 and can see and hug my son,” she said. “I was infected with the virus while in the final months of pregnancy. All my family members were also infected. Fortunately, we have recovered and can be reunited.”

Director of Hung Vuong Hospital, Dr Hoang Thi Diem Tuyet said that they have received 500 pregnant women infected with Covid-19 since the new  virus outbreak started in late April. But just five of these 500 women had babies who were diagnosed with the virus.

“We decided to set up the centre to take care of the healthy babies while waiting for their mothers’ treatment,” she said. “We are calling for volunteers to support the centre.”

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