About 20 children will be undergoing life saving heart surgery at the CWM Hospital from today, through the help of the Sai Prema Foundation- in conjunction with Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals India and the Ministry of Health.

These children were identified with various heart complications, after 76 children went through heart screenings last week, in the Children’s Heart Screening Centre at the Sri Sathya Sanjeevani Medical Centre in Nasese.

In general, about one per cent of all children are born with congenital heart disease. In Fiji, about 20 thousand children are born every year, out of which, about 200 children will be born with congenital heart disease.

Director of Sri Sathya Sanjeevani Hospitals India, Dr Ashish Katewa, says the youngest patient identified is a three month-old baby and the oldest one, being a ten-year-old.

Sai Prema Foundation Fiji Medical Director, Dr Krupali Tappoo, says this was a good opportunity for the patients to get medical attention, as parents and families have more to be grateful for, as they will not be shouldering any of the costs, as the surgeries will be rendered completely free of charge.

Dr Tappoo says the best major intervention towards curing Congenital Heart Disease is through surgery. She adds that since 2016, the Sai Prema Foundation has managed to assist 54 children through their free heart surgeries project for the poor and needy children of Fiji. These free surgeries had costed the Foundation approximately $5 million.

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