Hearts Beat Beyond Borders

CARE – Abraaj Initiative Offers New Life to Afghan Children

Two decades of war has ravaged the mountainous country of Afghanistan. Healthcare is one of the major casualties. Over 40% of children aged 0-5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, 85,000 die of diarrhea each year and the Infant Mortality Rate is 73. The country accounts for the world’s second highest mortality rate for children below the age of 5. There is one health facility for approximately 27,000 people and 25% people do not have access to healthcare.

Now CARE Hospitals and the Abraaj Group Healthcare Fund (AGHF) have collaborated with the Afghan Red Crescent Society, an international charitable organization, to provide treatment to Afghani children suffering from Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) is the Afghan affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Why CARE?

  • Leaders in Cardiology for over 20 years
  • One of the largest pediatric programs in India
  • First successful fetal intervention in India
  • Over 800 Pediatric heart surgeries performed, including 500 open heart surgeries; 15% of these on neonates (below 1 month of age)
  • Pioneered Pediatric Arrhythmia in India; best Pediatric Arrhythmia unit
  • 40-bed combined Neonatal/Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Units at CARE Hospitals flagship facility
  • Dedicated Pediatric Cardiac Catheterisation suite
  • Comprehensive and advanced diagnosis and management facilities
  • Ongoing research and development of new devices

The year-long commitment aims at treating 500 Afghani children by the end of 2017. The initiative is called ‘Hearts Beat Beyond Borders’ as children travel from Afghanistan to Hyderabad, India to get treated in getting a new life by the best hands in cardiology.

The starting point

It all started with Abraaj reaching out to the Afghan Red Crescent Society to be part of a noble cause. Reference meetings, to gain trust and confidence, ARCS representatives visited CARE Hospitals, Hyderabad, India facility to view the hospital and its Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) treatment competencies. The CARE consultants had interactive sessions with senior ARCS members. Post the visit, ARCS became confident and trusted CARE Hospitals’ capability to treat CHD patients.

The commitment

Abraaj and CARE are committed to provide world-class surgical care to 500 children at 40% subsidized rates. This is first time that the Afghan Red Crescent Society has entered into an association with a healthcare partner outside Delhi.

However, to carry out an endeavor of such magnitude and cost is never easy. Continuous support and coordination between multiple agencies, both clinical and non-clinical, is required.  The organizations are committed to do best from their side. While CARE Hospitals offers the treatment at 40% subsidized rates, Abraaj will raise funding for the treatment of 200 children out of 500. The infant/children age group is between 10 months – 5 years. The patients are escorted from Hyderabad airport, right from pick-up to treatment, their comfortable stay in the hospital to discharge and airport drop to their return journey to Afghanistan. Our consultants take personal attention and care to tell them about the special care and food they should focus on, post surgery.

CARE Hospitals’ vision is to meet the 500 mark and then continue to give new life to more than 4000 children in the next 4-5 years.

Here are some snapshots of three of the children treated — Musavir, Haji and Babel Zehra. Like them, around 100 children were successfully treated and given new life at CARE Hospitals, Hyderabad by the end of 2016. The next batch of families is scheduled to arrive soon.

Parents, who earlier had bleak hopes of their children ever leading a normal life due to lack of advanced healthcare facilities to treat CHD in Afghanistan, are immensely grateful for this cross-border initiative. The parents of these children express their feelings in short videos: Faizullah, father of young Musavir

faizullah

Faizullah, father of young Musavir who recently received treatment at CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, says, “The doctor explained to us in detail about the treatment and the risks involved in it. It gave me a lot of confidence for the surgery and I am very happy with the results now. Not only me, the other 12 children’s parents, who came along with us from Afghanistan are happy with the results. When we return to Afghanistan, we would recommend CARE Hospitals for anybody suffering with a cardiac problem.”

afghanistan-1

Watch Mr Father Shanullah, whose child Babi Haji underwent a valve replacement surgery at CARE Hospitals. He affirms, “This hospital has provided excellent treatment. (They) performed a surgery and replaced a valve successfully. Everything was timely, whether it was medicines or food. We had an Afghani translator too. I have two friends in Afghanistan who were treated here and they are doing well now. The doctors here are very service oriented, and I have never seen such commitment, neither in Pakistan nor in Afghanistan. The doctors and the sisters in CARE Hospitals are loving and caring. I would be happy if we have a hospital like CARE in Afghanistan.”

afghanistan-2

Ezat Mir, whose baby Babel Zehra had a hole in her heart, says “My daughter’s surgery was performed and I am really satisfied with the treatment. I had complete faith in the doctors, that they would give their best and was 100% confident about the surgery. The doctors and the nursing staff were very cooperative; I gained confidence when I spoke to them. The nursing staff was very affectionate, and they always treated us like their family. I will recommend this hospital for people across the world and especially for the people in Afghanistan who suffer from cardiac aliments. They have to visit India and especially CARE Hospitals in Hyderabad for quality surgery and good results. I can challenge you that you can’t find a hospital like CARE Hospital.” Watch Mr. Ezat Mir’s video here.

Watch more parents talk about the surgery and their experience with us –

Mr Dawood speaks about his son’s heart surgery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg9MFmzRx70

Mr Naqibullah speaks about his daughter’s heart surgery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66OrXyYXw9Q

Mr Kabir speaks about his son’s heart surgery – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJQ15BLQvTQ

 

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