Island News

A new lease of life

Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. The arrival section at Nadi International Airport was full as many people anxiously await the arrival of their loved ones. But the main highlight at
02 Aug 2008 12:00

image Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. The arrival section at Nadi International Airport was full as many people anxiously await the arrival of their loved ones.
But the main highlight at the arrival lounge on Wednesday morning was the four children who returned from India after a heart operation.
Cheers and red balloons greeted them as they arrived after a one hour flight delay.
Four out of six children arrived in the country on Wednesday morning from India after undergoing surgery.
Among the four was little Sneaba who happily greeted her relatives after their arrival last Wednesday.
Three year-old Sneaba Shangani Dutt was diagnosed with a heart problem when she was only three weeks old.
When her mother Nangita Shangani Dutt was being informed about her situation, she was lost as she didn’t know how to react to the news.
She spent sleepless night knowing that soon she would lose her eldest daughter.
But now Mrs Dutt is counting her lucky stars as her daughter’s heart condition has improved thanks to the Children’s Heart Foundation and Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation partnership.
When Island Life greeted little Sneaba she was a bit shy but from her expression anyone could tell she was glad to be back in Fiji with a clean bill of health and excitement could be seen in her eyes as her relatives surrounded her.
“We are very fortunate to receive such assistance because my husband I could not afford to send our little girl overseas for treatment. This is one of the happiest moments of my life and I’m forever thankful to the people responsible for giving another chance of life to my baby,” Mrs Dutt said.
Like any ordinary mother’s love towards her children, she said that most mothers would have felt the same pain if they were in her shoes but she is forever grateful that her days of worry has ended.
Two of little Sneaba’s colleges have yet to return as they are recovering from the operation and the date of their arrival will be determined later once they have fully recovered from the operation.
The two said the only thing they look forward to is returning to their Nakabuta home in Sigatoka where Sneaba’s father waits anxiously for the return of her eldest daughter who now has a healthy heart.
Next to her stands Anike Rai Mishra who is 12 years-old and resides in Nausori.
He is being accompanied by his mother Monika Devi Mishra and both have returned from a life saving trip from India.
For Mrs Devi she was just as relieved as the rest of the mothers that had returned from accompanying their children and most were just thankful that their child will now live a normal life.
The 12-year-old was diagnosed with the heart condition when he was just six months old and from that time until now, his parents was looking at all avenues to have him operated on.
“Times are now hard and we couldn’t afford to send him overseas for treatment and we are grateful that there is an organization which takes care of the needs of children with heart problems,” Mrs Devi said.
The mother of two is a computer operator in Suva, said she would not know of what would have happened to her son and others like him if it wasn’t for the help of the Children’s Heart Foundation.
She stressed the foundation have not only restored their hope for life but their help has strengthened the relationship between them and their children.
President of the Children’s Heart Foundation Doctor Ponnu Goundar said this trip was made possible through the funding by Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation.
“This is the Children’s Heart Foundation, the arms of the Fiji College of General Practitioners and this foundation is functioning with the help of the ATH Vodafone Foundation by sending children to India for heart surgery,” Dr Goundar said.
Children aged between four months and eight years benefit from this assistance.
With the Heart foundation’s great intentions Dr Goundar said they are now not only funded by Vodafone, but also by other business houses such as Fiji Water and other small donors.
“We are grateful to the people and the doctors at the Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai, India for giving us special service for the children,” Dr Goundar said.
So far, Dr Goundar said a total of 30 children have benefited from this lifesaving partnership which was formed years ago between the two foundations.
The Children’s Heart Foundation President said they are planning to send the next batch of six children by the end of next month.
Vodafone ATH Fiji Foundation’s funding has enabled the CHF to help prevent debility and premature death in children with correctible heart ailments.
The grant pays for air-travel, insurance and in some cases, air travel for one parent.
It is estimated that approximately eight out of 100 births in Fiji will result in a child being born with a major heart problem.

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