200 cases of congenital heart defects recorded annually in Fiji - Dr Lalabalavu

200 cases of congenital heart defects recorded annually in Fiji - Dr Lalabalavu

By Iliana Biutu
Monday 05/02/2024
Minister for Health, Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu at the Sai Sanjeevani Children's Heart Hospital during the launch of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week today.

200 cases of congenital heart defects are recorded annually in Fiji while in the South Pacific, 2,500 children are born with the condition. This was highlighted by the Minister for Health, Doctor Atonio Lalabalavu at the Sai Sanjeevani Children's Heart Hospital during the launch of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week yesterday.

Doctor Lalabalavu says in recognising this need, the government through the Ministry of Health has donated $4 million to the Sai Prema Foundation Fiji to support the work they do for the children of Fiji.

He further says congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and affect approximately 1 in every 100 babies born worldwide.

He says we must advocate for increased research and funding to improve early detection, treatment options and long-term care for individuals living with these conditions.

He adds we must all strive to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for those with congenital heart defects.

Sai Sanjeevani Children's Heart Hospital Director, Doctor Krupali Tappoo says these defects can vary widely from simple issues that may not cause any noticeable symptoms to complex conditions requiring immediate medical intervention.

Dr Tappoo says this awareness week is not merely a collection of days on the calendar, it represents a crucial opportunity to shine a spotlight on a silent but significant health issue that affects countless lives around the world.

She says the hospital also launched its mascot name Loloma the heart legend, a mascot of hope and love and it represents the compassion, strength and resilience that define their commitment to providing exceptional care to young hearts.

Dr Tappoo adds the launching of the defect ribbon also signifies support for congenital heart disease and they will also conduct awareness on congenital heart defects in the coming months and in years, the ribbon will act as a significant symbol in their heart to fight against the disease.

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