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Sirje Karis and 'Jõulutunnel' visit neonatal intensive care unit in Tallinn

Sirje Karis.
Sirje Karis. Source: ERR

Sirje Karis, patron of the Estonian Maternity Hospital Foundation (SA Sünnitusmajade Fond), took Estonia's Christmas charity program "Julutunnel" to the neonatal intensive care unit of East Tallinn Central Hospital.

Pille Andresson, head of the neonatal unit at East Tallinn Central Hospital, said that no matter where a baby is born, it should receive the highest quality care.

"We never know which babies are going to need specialized help, otherwise it would be very easy for us to send them to a place where everybody is waiting with gloves on, but in a third of the cases even the most normal birth can go in an unexpected direction and those babies too will need exactly the same kind of precision primary care," she said.

The hospital also has state-of-the-art display beds that make life for premature born babies as similar as possible to the environment in the mother's uterus.

"It's warm, it's humid, it's dark, and it's usually very quiet, too," she said, adding that the smallest babies can live in such a dome for a month or even longer. "We tell ourselves it's their first apartment."

It is also possible to play sounds to the babies in the unit to promote their cognitive development. "If the mother can not to be present, she can read a tale or sing a song and we play it for the baby," she said.

"I am grateful that there are those among us who donate to help these smallest people to grow up, and I think every person, no matter how large or small their donation is, can feel in their heart that they have once again helped to bring a life back to Estonia," Sirje Karis said.

People can donate by calling the following numbers. Calling 900 7701 will donate €5, while it is possible to donate €10 by calling 900 7702 or €25 by calling 900 7703. All sums received will be forwarded to the foundation.

"Jõulutunnel" specials with live music and Estonian families sharing their experiences will air on ETV at 6:45 p.m. and ETV+ (in Russian) at 7:15 p.m. on Christmas Day.

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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Kristina Kersa

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