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Shanghai doctors care for quake kids

CHILDREN who lived through the devastating earthquake in Sichuan Province last year will have a special Children's Day in Dujiangyan this year, because a group of local pediatricians and social workers will visit them, give them a health checkup and bring them gifts.

The move, called the Children's Health Festival, has been organized by Shanghai Children's Medical Center and Project HOPE, a United States-based charity organization. It will take place in Dujiangyan on May 30.

Staff from the Shanghai hospital, including 10 pediatric experts and 10 social workers, will give free medical consultations and health education to parents. Children with complicated diseases such as congenital heart disease are expected to be taken to Shanghai for treatment.

"We hold the Children's Health Festival every year on Children's Day in Shanghai and we decided to introduce it to Dujiangyan this year to show additional care to Sichuan's children," said Ji Qingying from Shanghai Children's Medical Center. "This year's theme is 'Love All Around'."

Ji has designed games for children still suffering the effects of the earthquake to teach them how to love each other, how to cooperate with others and how to be strong despite their suffering.

"We will teach them games such as untying ropes that are binding each other's hands and drawing pictures together," she said.

Pamphlets and lectures about children's nutrition and the prevention of accidents will be offered to parents.

"Our doctors will be especially careful not to mention words such as disaster area and victim," Ji added. "All the children there deserve a happier and more colorful life."

After visiting Dujiangyan twice, Ji said she was deeply impressed by the optimistic attitude and strong endurance of Sichuan people.

In a Sichuan hospital, she had met the famous Coke Boy, who asked for a can of Coke when he was pulled from debris.

The child who really impressed her was a girl whose leg had been amputated. The girl greeted Ji with a big smile in her wheelchair, Ji recalled.

"It was not what I had imagined," she said. "They were not sad about their suffering and injuries."

Children's smiles moved Ji and her colleagues so much that they decided to do something for them.

"The medical condition there is still poor," she said.

Last January, Project HOPE sent physiotherapy equipment to hospitals in Dujiangyan - 546 children were disabled in last year's earthquake.


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