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AmeriCares Field Hospitals Making a Difference in China

  • July 31, 2008

“There would be no inpatients if not for the AmeriCares hospital,” a doctor at the Qingchuan facility told AmeriCares relief workers a few days ago.  The opening of the facility has enabled this doctor and his colleagues to treat between 200-300 inpatients within the hospital’s first four weeks’ of operation.  Residents of China’s Sichuan Province are still facing many obstacles as they recover from the deadly 7.9-magnitude earthquake of May 12, but worries about health care and medical treatment have receded since the opening of the AmeriCares field hospital in late June. 

“Since the field hospital opened a few weeks ago, an increasing number of people are coming to the clinic every day as the news spreads,” said Brian Hoyer, an AmeriCares response team member working in China. 

Staffed by a team of local medical professionals, the hospital has treated over 1,000 people on an outpatient basis since its June 24th opening, averaging about 130 people daily.  In addition, it has treated between 200 and 300 people on an inpatient basis, who are mainly pregnant women and individuals recovering from surgeries.  Fifty surgeries have been completed in the first month, and 30 babies have been delivered.

The field hospital in Qingchuan is one of two delivered, constructed and equipped by AmeriCares as part of the post-earthquake response.  Construction has been completed on the second AmeriCares field hospital, which is located in Wenchuan County and is expected to open in early August.  Wenchuan was the epicenter of the May 12 quake, where approximately 35,000 people alone were injured.  The new field hospital, situated on the site of the devastated Xuankou Township Hospital, will provide services for anywhere between 80 and 200 patients daily.  Like its counterpart in Qingchuan, this hospital will also feature operating and emergency rooms, a laboratory, maternity ward and at least two patient wards.

“The people in Wenchuan and Qingchuan are remarkably resilient, but the day-to-day living experience is still difficult here,” says Hoyer, who has been in China since May 17, five days after the earthquake.  “By helping to meet the health care needs of these two communities, AmeriCares is supporting thousands of people as they continue the recovery process.”

Millions of people in Sichuan Province were left homeless in the aftermath of the May earthquake, the country’s worst natural disaster in 30 years.  Estimates have placed the number of dead and missing at 87,000.

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