City has a heart for ailing Afghan children

The 14 children are all below 14 years of age,with the youngest being a two-year-old.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: April 23, 2013 2:30:50 am

More than a dozen children from Afghanistan have been treated for congenital heart defects (CHD) in a charitable hospital in Ahmedabad as part of a partnership with a UK-based non-profit healthcare organisation working in the troubled country. Another batch of children is expected to come for treatments later this month.

The 14 children are all below 14 years of age,with the youngest being a two-year-old.

They come from various parts of Afghanistan,including Kabul,Jalalabad,Nangarhar and heart.

They were mostly accompanied by their fathers. A five-year-old boy was the only patient to be accompanied by his mother since his father could not shut his road-side shop,their only source of income,according to a hospital official.

“Some of the patients have already been discharged and have gone home,but eight are currently waiting for follow-up checks since it is imperative that they go home fully cured,” said Mayur Dave,business head at Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital,located in the city’s Rakhiyal neighbourhood.

He added the non-profit organisation did not wish to be named.

A team of doctors from the organisation visited the city hospital earlier this year to assess its facilities.

Dr Sajan Nair,the hospital director,said the city hospital is the first to offer treatments among its counterparts elsewhere under such an agreement.

The cost of treatment is dealt with on a case-to-case basis,with the less poor families paying anywhere from 20% to 50% of the costs,and the non-profit footing the entire bill for some of the poorer families.

The children began coming in three batches from April 2.

“I never imagined that it will be possible for me to get my daughter treated. Most of us back home leave things to fate as we have little resources and knowledge,” grocery shop owner Liaqat Shah,the father of a three-year old girl from Nangarhar Province,was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the hospital.

CHDs are birth defects where babies are born with hearts that are misshapen or not working properly,and may or may not cause health problems immediately upon birth.

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