189 children in Fiji given free heart surgeries at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital

189 children in Fiji given free heart surgeries at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 23/03/2023
4-year-old Ratu Joji Cocker and mother Ilisapeci Waqalala with the Hearts 4 kids team

189 children in Fiji have been provided with free heart surgeries from the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital since its establishment.

The Hospital has also conducted 10,555 free echo-cardiograms for children in Fiji.

According to the Hospital, they had a few challenging and complicated surgeries that were performed at the hospital by the 38-member team of medical professionals from the Hearts4Kids Trust.

The Hearts4Kids Trust is the charity that coordinated the visit, which led to a team of medical professionals from Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand, together with professionals from Australia, who came as a visiting team to the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Fiji to operate on children with congenital heart defects.

The visiting team operated on a few children with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), a combination of four heart defects, who urgently needed to have their corrective surgeries done.

A baby as young as four months old had TOF repair. Prior to surgery, this baby was quite unwell and had blue-tinged skin because his blood didn’t carry enough oxygen.

If the surgical team did not carry out his surgery, this baby would not have made it to his first birthday. Also, for the very first time, a child with significant damage to his mitral valve (between the left heart chambers) caused by Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) had surgery performed to repair it.

This is yet again a complicated procedure, but with the surgeon’s expertise and exceptional post-operative care by the intensive care unit team, the child is recovering well.

Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital say some of these surgeries have literally been lifesaving for these children, and the Children’s Hospital, which is nearing its first anniversary, is now even better equipped to conduct more complex paediatric cardiac surgeries.

Sai Sanjeevani Fiji Hospital Director Dr Krupali Tappoo says that some of the surgeries that were performed were quite complicated.

She says as a hospital, they feel honoured and privileged that the Hearts4Kids team felt comfortable operating at the Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Fiji.

Dr Tappoo says during this visit, one child with severe Rheumatic Heart Disease had a mitral valve repair done lasting almost 8 hours.

She adds there was an 18-month-old child from the Solomon Islands who was operated on, thus beginning the journey of the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital as a Pediatric Cardiac Care centre for the whole of Fiji and the South Pacific Islands.

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