74 children benefit from free heart program

Children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) have benefited from another heart program organized by M.P Shah Hospital in partnership with the Jain Social Group, doctors from Great Ormond Street Hospital, UK and Healing Little Hearts, an international charity organization.

The medical team composed of paediatric cardiac doctors and nurses spent close to two weeks at the hospital where they performed free heart screenings and theatre procedures between April and May 2018.

The hospital screened a total of 74 children and diagnosed 67 of them with varied congenital heart conditions. 15 children underwent successful cardiac intervention procedures and have since been discharged by the hospital.

According to the hospital management, the program targeted poor families across the country which balks at treating their loved ones because of the high cost of surgeries.

Paediatric heart operations are amongst the most expensive surgeries and a single operation costs between Sh. 500,000 to Sh. 1.2 million. The Hospital, supported by the Jain Social Group, has so far conducted four heart missions for children.

They have successfully performed 35 congenital open-heart operations and 38 interventional cardiac repairs for disadvantaged children at no cost to their families.

“The management team hopes to continue this noble endeavor with the eventual goal of developing a self-sustaining program to fix little Kenyan hearts,” said Ms. Toseef Din, the hospital Chief Operating Officer.

Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) remains the world’s most common birth defect, affecting approximately 1 in 100 children.  In Kenya, the Ministry of Health estimates that more than 200,000 children under the age of 18 years suffer from heart disease. Each year, over 10,000 babies are born with CHD. Unfortunately, the lack of access to cardiac care in Kenya, means that many of these children will fail to live past early childhood.

Healing Little Hearts is a relatively small charity with a big ambition and a primary aim to ensure every child that needs heart surgery – is able to receive it. They have surpassed more than 1200 operations on children since conception. All their volunteers take part of these camps on their free time and are not paid for their work. In addition to treating children who cannot afford surgery, important teaching (to doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) and mentoring links have been established with MP Shah Children’s Hospital. The charity aims to one day leave a legacy of an independent congenital heart service at the institution.