International Child Health Launch


Alder Hey Hospital launches an International Child Health Department to lead the way in global paediatric care

A new International Child Health (ICH) Department at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital aims to bring together the existing humanitarian work of staff and coordinate their efforts to lead the way in global paediatric health care.

The department will be the first of its kind in a paediatric hospital in the UK, coordinating the humanitarian and other international work of all members of staff enabling them to develop their skills in a new environment. It will help with grants and visa applications as well as providing information and support.

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The department aims to save the lives of children and promote health in under-resourced countries by assisting in research, education and development.

Director of ICH Consultant Paediatric Oncologist Professor Barry Pizer (pictured right) said: “Our vision is that Alder Hey will contribute to improving the health of world’s children, building our international reputation and leading the way in paediatric health care.

“Staff at Alder Hey have been using their skills to help children in developing countries, who may not otherwise have access to free health care, for more than 20 years.

“The new department aims to bring this work together with education and research activities to develop best practice in a number of partner nations.”

Alder Hey already has an established partnership with Kanti hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal - the only dedicated children’s hospital in the country, which has a population of 30 million people. Staff have been making regular trips to provide assistance for more than a decade sharing their expertise in paediatric life support and resuscitation, cancer treatment, burns surgery and treatment of epilepsy.

Prof Pizer has been supporting the children’s cancer unit for more than 20 years, training doctors and nurses, providing support on the care of individual patients and introducing ways to improve recovery and reduce mortality from the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

Consultant plastic surgeon Sian Falder has trained nurses, surgeons and physiotherapists in Essential Burn Care (EBC) in Nepal, which promotes good practice on the wards and theatres, improves dressing and surgery techniques; and promotes the use of more effective pain killers and psychological support to patients.

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Cardiac surgeon Ram Dhannapuneni has been leading teams at camps across India and Africa with Healing Little Hearts Charity, performing successful surgery on children, which were previously believed to have inoperable conditions. 

Research studies have taken place in Malawi in connection with community health workers to help them better identify children with disabilities, so that support can be put in place from their early stages of life.

Staff nurse Louise Hall has volunteered her time for the past nine years to run a post-operative ward in India with the Northern Cleft Foundation. In a week UK cleft surgeons operate on between 80 and 115 babies and children born with cleft lip and palate.

Respiratory Consultant at Alder Hey and Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine at the University of Liverpool Calum Semple led a World Health Organisation (WHO) mission to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis in 2014. He led a study of convalescent plasma using donations from healthy Ebola disease survivors for patients with early symptoms and described Post Ebola Syndrome in survivors experiencing long term effects of the disease.

Prof Pizer said: “These placements, which support health care teams in low and middle income countries not only benefit patients they also help with the development of staff.

“Alder Hey volunteers help to train staff in country in more advanced procedures and surgical techniques, while also developing their own skills by learning to overcome problems in settings with limited resources.

“They return to the hospital with more advanced skills for the benefit of our young patients in the North West.”

The humanitarian work will also link in with the Alder Hey Academy based at the Institute in the Park, which has academic partnerships with the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, UCLan and Edge Hill.

In addition, the department will look at increasing existing partnerships with nations such as China to deliver education and training in the UK.

Find out more about the department and the remarkable work that goes on on our International Child Health page.

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