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8 Children With Heart Ailments To Undergo Operation

8 Children With Heart Ailments To Undergo Operation
Source: Sai Prema Foundation (Fiji)
April 13
11:36 2018

Eight children with congenital heart anomalies have been identified for surgery after the initial screenings by a special team of overseas doctors yesterday.

“The youngest is about two years old and the oldest is 10,” said the team’s head surgeon, Dr Ashish Katewa.

He said these children were survivors because the critical cases with congenital heart defects usually do not live past one year of age.

“These children we’re seeing now (at the screenings) are really survivors,” he said.

He said there are likely more survivors with congenital heart disease but the challenge was to ensure the early diagnosis of the condition. He said families with children who display symptoms of blue discolouration of nails, poor weight gain and regular respiratory infection should come for screening.

“Babies who display a suck-rest-suck cycle should also be screened,” he explained.

The suck-rest-suck cycle is when a baby can only suckle on their mother’s breast for a short period of about two minutes, and need a longer rest time before they can continue to suckle. Babies normally can suckle for longer than 10 minutes before requiring rest.

More children are expected to be operated on as screenings continue on Friday and Saturday at the Suva’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

Families are encouraged to take their children to CWMH for screening should they suspect their child suffers from a congenital heart disease.

Surgeries will begin tomorrow as screening continues, said Dr Katewa. Dr Katewa and his 14-member team arrived in the country on Wednesday night, one day later than scheduled after their flight was grounded because of Tropical Cyclone Keni.

The team’s visit is organised by the Sai Prema Foundation (Fiji), a non-government organisation inspired to serve the poor through a three-pronged mission, one of which is to provide meaningful support toward health care.

Dr Katewa thanked the Foundation for its efforts and the Health Ministry for its support.

The charity heart surgeries are organised as part of the foundation’s Gift of Life initiative.

The Gift of Life programme is assisted by the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, where Dr Katewa is a resident surgeon, and the Health Ministry.

When Dr Katewa last visited in 2016, with a team of 10 specialists, they were able to successfully operate on 23 patients.


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