NEWS

71 Successful Heart Surgeries Completed

The foundation, together with the Ministry of Health, are now embarking on the largest project ever initiated by a non-governmental organisation in Fiji’s history in the building of a $25 million Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital- the first of its kind in the region.
12 Jan 2020 11:55
71 Successful Heart Surgeries Completed
The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, with the staff and volunteers of the Sai Prema Foundation, with the children and their parents that have been helped by the foundation.

The Gift of Life with the Sai Prema Foundation has completed 71 successful surgeries, saving the lives of children who now have a better chance of living normal lives again.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, at the Gift of Life Celebration function in Suva yesterday.

Dr Waqainabete said one of the biggest contributions made by the foundation has been helping give these children a new life by providing free life-saving heart surgeries.

“This has saved an estimated $7 million for families, more importantly, saving lives of precious children and giving them a future, they deserve,” Dr Waqainabete said.

The foundation, together with the Ministry of Health, are now embarking on the largest project ever initiated by a non-governmental organisation in Fiji’s history in the building of a $25 million Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital- the first of its kind in the region.

Paediatric cardiac hub

This hospital will become a paediatric cardiac hub to children in Fiji and the Pacific.

The Sai Prema Foundation is involved in more than a dozen healthcare, education and social welfare projects across Fiji and is a key partner of the Ministry of Health.

The centre opened in 2018 and has seen more than 7000 patients for free as well as offered specialist consultations from time to time.

Congenital Heart Disease

Researchers have established that approximately around one million children are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) each year.

With timely treatment, 85 percent of these children can survive into adulthood to live healthy, productive lives.

“Unfortunately, 90 per cent born with this disease live in poor regions with little or no access at all to care and is the leading top five cause of death globally,” Dr Waqainabete said.

The heart of child is a ticking time bomb

People have time and again posed the question to Sai Prema Foundation director Sumeet Tappoo as to why the rush in building the new Children’s Heart Hospital.

And his answer has always been, “the heart is a ticking time bomb”.

Mr Tappoo highlighted this at the Gift of Life Celebration function held at the Sanjeevani Medical Centre, Nasese, Suva, yesterday.

“Our contractor had asked me if we could delay the opening of the new children’s hospital from April to November, I said no – because a child is waiting to be operated on and if it was your child, you would not waste one minute,” Mr Tappoo said.

Mr Tappoo said that the new hospital was for the children in Fiji and the Pacific region.

“This is going to save lives. And this is what the foundation is all about, making a real difference in our communities,” he said.

Mr Tappoo said many of the families who attended the celebrations had a wonderful story to tell.

“This is what keeps us going forward, driving and charging forward with exceptional results. And we are doing everything we can,” he said.

He said in the coming weeks, once documentations were finalised with the Ministry of Health, an official announcement would be made. The Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital is the first of its kind in the region.

Sanjeevani Heart Screening was opened in April of 2019, housing the latest-in-technology heart screening device. This centre enables children to be effectively screened for cardiac disease and complications.

The foundation is working and collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health and its officials.

Edited by Percy Kean

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