birth defeAs part of Fortis Foundation’s ‘Umeed Dhadkan’ initiative, a group of 15 children from Kashmir were treated for Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) in Gurgaon recently. The free surgeries were supported by Rotary Club of Delhi East End, Have A Heart Foundation along with Fortis Foundation. The team of doctors was led by Dr Vijay Agarwal, Director and Head of Department, Paediatric Cardiology, FMRI.
‘Umeed Dhadkan’ is an initiative under Fortis Foundation’s Aanchal programme. It acknowledges that children should not be deprived an opportunity to lead a healthy life due to economic constraint. Under the Umeed-Dhadkan initiative, as many as 4331 children have been treated from different parts of the country.
One of these children is a four-year-old girl, Adeeba Farooq. She had high fever and bouts of coughing that left her weak, breathless and, at times, turned blue. The CHD was diagnosed when a local doctor advised her to undergo a 2D ECHO. Her father, who earns his livelihood as a daily wage worker, could not afford an expensive surgery required to cure her. She was taken to a health camp organized by Rotary Club of Delhi East End. It was decided that her surgery would be supported by Rotary Club of Delhi East End, Have A Heart Foundation and Fortis Foundation. After a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) closure operation was successfully done by Dr Vijay Agarwal at FMRI, she has now completely recovered.
According to Dr Vijay Agarwal, who performed heart transplant in children and over 5,000 simple and complex open-heart surgeries, said, “Adeeba is really fortunate to have this VSD operated which is potentially curable and will lead a normal life. Children in remote areas sometimes miss out on the opportunity to undergo this simple but curative surgery. It is tragic that delay in diagnosis and treatment can make this simple condition inoperable leading to early deaths in several cases! With initiatives such as these can be a life changing event for a poor family!”
Speaking about this initiative, Jasbir Grewal, Head, Fortis Foundation said, “The surgeries for children suffering from Congenital Heart Defect gives them a new lease of life. It is an extremely gratifying experience to be a small part of this process – one that puts a smile back on the face of a child. Through these surgeries, not only the children, but their immediate families are also relieved of constant stress. In collaboration with our partners, we reach out to children whose families don’t have the capacity to get their children treated.”
Speaking on behalf of Rotary, A.C Peter from Rotary Club of Delhi East End said, “This project gives smiles back to the unfortunate children, wipe out the misery in the family, and helps build humanitarian bridges across nations. The scar in the chest of these children will remain as a testimony of Rotary love for them.”
Father of Adeeba, Mr Sameer Ul Ashraf said, “It was a blessing. We had nearly given up hope for her treatment. We are indebted to the doctors; Rotary Club of Delhi East End and Fortis Foundation for helping us treat our child. She is happy and smiling today.”
CHD can be defined as a structural or functional abnormality in the heart, which presents itself at the time of birth. It poses a great threat to the life of the newborn and can result in death. According to the report,’Congenital Heart Disease in India: A Status Report’, CHD accounts for 10% of infant mortality in India. It has an incidence rate of 2.25 to 5.2 per 1000 live births and accounts for two thirds of all major birth defects. However the magnitude of the CHD problem is still largely unrecognized, understated, and underestimated. However timely detection and proper intervention can help children suffering from CHD lead a healthy life.