Miklós Szabó, MD, PhD, Med habil.

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Recent progress in neonatology in Hungary

Hungary was in a leading position compared to neighbouring countries with well centralized care (network of 22 NICUs nationwide) established in 1976 for the intensive treatment of preterm infants and neonates at risk, and with the relatively high rate of breastfeeding.  However, in the ’90s the Hungarian neonatologists faced many challenges. Mainly due to unstructured financing in the medical field, the lack of modern medical devices and the practice based on non-organized knowledge transfer. NICU leaders invested and starting the first Hungarian web based health database in 2004, which focused on NICU patients. This became an essential tool for auditing practices and to urge the non-invasive revolution in the neonatal care throughout the country. As a result of this activity, the use of essential treatment modalities, like antenatal steroids, early surfactant, early enteral feeding by mother milk, non-invasive ventilation etc. increased substantially, resulting in a robust decline in mortality of very preterm infants and a 30% reduction in general neonatal mortality in the last era. Inspired by the European Foundation for the Care of the Newborn Infant local parent organisations were established, stimulating further the development of baby and family friendly NICU environment and introduction of new modalities of care.

In the last years both professionals and policymakers initiated complex programs focusing onto the wellbeing of sick babies and their parents and to improve the exclusive breastfeeding rate providing better professional support to mother who breastfeed.

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