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Little Bardi’s life began in Kosovo with heartbreak and hope. This tiny, three-pound boy was a miracle baby—the only survivor of a premature delivery of triplets. At birth, Bardi’s own survival was threatened by the risk of respiratory distress—a syndrome all too common among babies with underdeveloped lungs due to premature birth.
Thankfully, Bardi is alive today, due to a surfactant-replacement drug delivered by AmeriCares in order to prevent respiratory distress in low-birth weight infants.
Before AmeriCares began working in Kosovo in 1999, high-risk newborns like Bardi had little hope of survival. AmeriCares began delivering disaster aid to this impoverished, war-torn country during the Kosovo War, when Kosovars were experiencing the highest rate of infant mortality in all of Europe. No neonatal intensive care unit existed, and preterm infants had no access to leading-edge medicines like the surfactant donated by AmeriCares corporate partner Abbott.
Today, Bardi is one of a growing number of babies that are thriving, thanks to a partnership in Kosovo between AmeriCares and the Foundation for Healthy Mothers and Babies. In the past four years alone, AmeriCares has delivered more than 1,000 vials of life-saving surfactant. For use in 2012, AmeriCares recently delivered an additional 150 vials of surfactant to treat 12 infants per month.
Hope and Progress
Today, Kosovo’s newborn ICU is equipped with the most advanced technologies. The donated surfactant is administered by neonatologists trained by the World Health Organization and using equipment donated in the recent past by AmeriCares, Abbott and the Foundation for Healthy Mothers and Babies.
Abbott Fund has supported the procurement of CPAP machines to provide Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, as well as an advanced oxygenation system for the entire NICU.
The results are a dramatic, shining example of hope and progress: Infant mortality rates in some weight profiles—including low-birth weight infants—have dropped by 50 percent.