Members of the Vietnamese community, Western Health Executive and Western Health and Western Health Foundation Boards, came together on Wednesday 22 October for a special celebration to acknowledge the wonderful contribution made by the Vietnamese community in support of the new Joan Kirner Women's and Children's at Sunshine Hospital.
Over a 6 -month period, the Vietnamese Community Appeal, led by the Venerable Thich Phuoc Tan OAM, Abbot of Quang Minh Temple in Braybrook, and Dr Nhan Phuc Pham, Fundraising Director, Quang Minh Temple, raised over $300,000 for the new facility, with the funds dedicated to the purchase of specialised equipment for the recently opened Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The funds were used to purchase a neonatal intensive care transport cot to provide for the safe transfer of sick and premature babies to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, along with six neonatal cameras that allow families remote viewing of their babies. The Joan Kirner Women's and Children's is the first hospital in Victoria, and only the second in Australia, to have these specialised cameras installed.
"Having a newborn baby in intensive care is a parent's worst nightmare," says Adele Mollo, Divisional Director, Women's & Children's. "They feel fearful and powerless and often their babies will be hospitalised for weeks or even months, making it difficult for parents and family to always be by their sides."
"These new cameras can help to make parents' time-away from their newborns a little less stressful, by providing on-demand, live streaming of their baby direct from the neonatal cot. It also provides remote viewing for extended family members, especially those that live interstate or overseas."
During the celebrations a plaque was unveiled by the Hon. Bronwyn Pike, Chair of the Western Health Board, to honour the contribution made by the Vietnamese Community, with the plaque to be installed at the entrance to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
The Unit was officially opened by Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos on 17 September. It is the first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to be opened in the western suburbs and the first to be opened in Victoria in the last 30 years. Previously, families with sick or premature babies in the western suburbs were transferred to either the Royal Women's Hospital or the Royal Children's Hospital to get the urgent help they need. The Unit currently features four cots, with capacity to expand to 6 in the future.
"The opening of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Western Health has been an amazing development for Western Health," says Associate Professor Glyn Teale, Clinical Services Director, Women's and Children's.
"Since the Unit opened in September we we have cared for more than 26 babies. Approximately half of these would have been transferred out to another NICU service had we not had this level of care to look after them. So already it is making a huge difference."
"We are incredibly proud to now be operating a Level-6 newborn service which means we can look after very sick babies and babies born as early as 28 weeks. It truly is a wonderful thing to be able to offer families in Melbourne's west this level of service, closer to home.
"We are so very grateful to have been partnered by the Vietnamese community in delivering this wonderful facility and we thank them wholeheartedly for their fundraising efforts and generosity."