7 Malawi and 1 Afghan children return home with new lease of life

Jun 20, 2017 13:34 | Chandigarh
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676 lives of children saved by Rotary Heartline project of Rotary Club of Chandigarh since 1998

Chandigarh, (kulbir singh kalsi): Seven children from Malawi, Africa, and one from Afghanistan return home after getting a new lease of life.  Five girls and two boys from Malawi and a two years old girl Basmina from Afghanistan have been successfully operated under Rotary Club of Chandigarh's Hartline project by Dr. T.S. Mahant, Executive Director, Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at Fortis Mohali, informed Club Presisdent Neenu Vij. 

Despite the language barrier, the parent were grateful and joyous to see their children getting back to normal. 

Niya Buba (6), Julius Rombwa (7),  Jesica Josamu (4),  Nestor Sambakudwe (6), Shamina Halipher (1 year),  Justina Masautso(5), Prisca Gorombe(15) from Malawi and Basmina (2) from Afghanistan would return home with the gift of life after successful heart surgeries. 

Most of the parents were either farm workers, or labourers and daily wagers who never imagined that their children would ever get back to normalcy, explained the interpretor Thuam Biak Kim, Health Nurse from Malawi High Commission who accompanied the children. 

With this the number of children whose lives have been saved by Rotary Club Chandigarh with the active partnership of Fortis Hospital Mohali, has gone up to 22. 

Past District Governor Kawal Bedi on whose tenure as the then president of the Rotary Club Chandigarh the project was started in 1998, said that it is humbling that we are able to save the lives of 676 children thanks to the vision of Past Rotary International President Rajendra K Saboo who had challenged the club, let not any child suffering from heart disease, die for lack of money. 

Rotary District Governor Elect Praveen Chander Goyal considered the Heartline project a landmark project and commended the Rotary Club for continuing to save the lives of children who cannot otherwise afford the expensive treatment. 

Recently, High Commissioner Designate of Malawi to India, George Mkondwa along with Trade CounsellorAlfred Vilili also visited the children to meet the children at Fortis. 

The project was started with PGIMER as the partner hospital and later in 2006, Fortis Hospital Mohali was also signed up as partner for this project. 

Even the language had not been a barrier and children adapted themselves to their Rotarian hosts and volunteers, as well as with the doctors, said project chair Sukhjit Singh Gill.

Besides 529 surgeries of Indian children, there were 147 children who underwent free heart surgery, which included children from various countries including Afghanistan (3), Iraq (1), Malawi (22), Nepal (15), Nigeria (5), Pakistan (34), Rwanda (50), Uganda (7), Zimbabwe (10).

According to Fortis' Facility Director Mr Abhijit Singh said, “The Rotary Heartline project is very dear to our hearts as it reflects our commitment to the cause of quality, compassionate patient care and being a support system for the underprivileged and vulnerable sections of the society. It’s a privilege to be able to help children from beyond our borders enabling them to enjoy a second lease to life.”

The former world President of Rotary International Rajendra K. Saboo, who had been leading international medical missions to different African countries, on the request of the local governments, had promised to provide free heart surgeries to children from various African countries.