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Field Hospitals Making a Difference in China

  • August 8, 2008

Continuing its efforts to provide critically needed medical relief for earthquake survivors throughout China’s Sichuan Province, AmeriCares has opened a second field hospital and will be providing essential medical equipment to a third hospital in the devastated region. The second field hospital opened for outpatient visits in late July on the site of the devastated Xuankou Township Hospital. Xuankou is located in Wenchuan County, which was the epicenter of the 7.9-magnitude earthquake. The new facility is providing services for anywhere between 80 and 200 patients daily.
The first hospital opened in June in Qingchuan, an area where 250,000 residents lost their only medical clinic after the initial quake and subsequent aftershocks. Both facilities provide both inpatient and outpatient services and feature operating and emergency rooms, a laboratory and maternity ward.

“There would be no inpatients if not for the AmeriCares hospital,” a doctor at the Qingchuan facility told AmeriCares relief workers a few weeks 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 earthquake of May 12, but worries about health care and medical treatment have receded since the opening of two AmeriCares field hospitals in the area. 
Staffed by a team of local medical professionals, the hospital in Qingchuan has been averaging about 130 people daily since its June 24 opening. 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 people in Xuankou 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.”

In addition to the two field hospitals, AmeriCares has purchased an ambulance for the hospital in Qingchuan and is in the process of providing medical equipment to a third hospital in the town of Shuimo to help meet the most urgent needs of the people within Shuimo and its 18 surrounding villages. The equipment will allow the hospital to expand its services to 30,000 people who live in the area, including inpatient and outpatient treatment, diagnostic testing and ambulance transportation.

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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