Operation Santa Claus
Jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK since 1988, Operation Santa Claus is one of the largest charitable donation drives in Hong Kong. By November 2012, It had raised more than HK$170 million for over 150 charitable projects.
Hong Kong donations save mainland baby with lung infection, head trauma
After a difficult birth beset by numerous complications, the newborn would not have survived without a flood of donations from Hong Kong
Baby Lin Xia was born six weeks after full term and might not have survived if his family did not receive donations from Hong Kong that helped pay for his treatment.
Born last month in rural Guizhou province, Lin Xia was the first beneficiary of the Children's Medical Foundation's "save-a-baby programme". He suffered oxygen deprivation, a lung infection and head trauma during birth. He recovered after two weeks of treatment.
"You can only imagine how excited the parents were when they were expecting the baby," said Estella Huang Lung, the foundation's interim executive director. "They started getting nervous when the baby didn't come after 40 weeks, and then there was so much birth trauma. They're overjoyed and really thankful for the help."
Induced labour is usually recommended after 42 weeks in developed countries. Births after 46 weeks like Lin Xia's are rare. It was likely that his parents lacked basic knowledge of prenatal care, she said.
Lin Xia's parents are young, unemployed and have no medical insurance. His grandparents earn 2,000 yuan (HK$2,460) a month - a far cry from the 9,800 yuan bill for staying at the municipal hospital's neonatal care unit, among other fees.
The programme has since saved another baby, and is expected to help at least 38 more in the next two years in the province's Qianxinan Buyei and Miao autonomous prefecture. It targets infants whose parents cannot pay for life-saving treatment, even though the conditions are treatable.
The save-a-baby programme is funded by donations from last year's Operation Santa Claus.
The funds also provided new equipment for the municipal hospital's neonatal care unit and training for medical staff, and will fund a similar programme in Sichuan province next year.
A doctor and a nurse from Qianxinan received six-month training at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, one of the best in the country. They learned specialised skills such as neonatal resuscitation, which can save babies like Lin Xia. Another nurse and a doctor are receiving training.
"The staff feel blessed to have this opportunity and will train other medical staff in the area," said Huang, from the foundation.
She hopes the save-a-baby programme could continue beyond two years through funding and donations from the government and local community.