Heart care for disadvantaged children


Chennai : A hospital here has tied up with an American university and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in the US to bring low-cost heart care to disadvantaged children in India.

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The Lifeline multi-speciality hospital here has set up a foundation with the University of Missouri and the Gift of Life International (GOLI) which "will facilitate complex paediatric cardio-vascular operations for poor kids in a sustained programme," J S Rajkumar, chairman of the Lifeline Group of Hospitals, told IANS here.

An MoU was signed Monday between the Indian hospital and the university for cooperation in the programme, named 'Save Heart, Save Child'.

The first batch of operations under the programme began Monday. About 15 children, aged from one to 12 years will be treated over the next five days. American Consul General here David T Hopper and Rajya Sabha member M.K. Kanimozhi inaugurated the programme.

"We plan to have a series of such operations with visiting surgeons every three months," Rajkumar said.

India has about 40,000 kids needing such heart correction procedures, experts said.

The programme will be assisted by Missouri University hospital doctors, and will also get support from GOLI.

Well-known cardiologist Pierantonio Russo, a visiting professor at the university hospital and N Kapadia, chief cardiac surgeon of Lifeline hospital (who is also Russo's student) will conduct the operations assisted by specialist teams from their respective countries.

"I am proud American institutions are contributing to health care in India," US Consul General here David T Hopper said, adding, he wished greater successes for such collaborative programmes.

Under the programme, each operation will cost around Rs. 30,000. But on an average, such procedures cost about $7,000, according to GOLI.

GOLI has been providing logistical support to paediatric heart care programmes in the USA, Columbia, Romania and now in India, and has supported about 9,000 children with heart ailments.