Delhi-based NGO Child Heart Foundation is trying to make critical medical care available to underprivileged children with congenital heart disease.
Shristi is an 8-month-old child. Her father, Bhupender Tiwari, works as a driver in Delhi. Shristi was born with a congenital structural abnormality called Pulmonary Atresia. As a result of it, the outflow of blood from the heart to the lungs is obstructed. Due to this critical Congenital Heart Defect, she is in need of constant treatment and requires a surgery.
Delhi-based NGO Child Heart Foundation (CHF) is trying to help Shristi and many more children like her suffering from heart diseases, whose parents cannot afford the costly treatment.
“In Delhi, the only government hospital where one can avail low cost complete child heart treatment is at AIIMS. There’s no other free hospital to go to and therefore the facilities at AIIMS are always overcrowded. In India deficit of both skilled doctors and infrastructure for children with congenital heart disease. Currently, there are only few skilled paediatric cardiologists in India. There are only 50 hospitals equipped to treat congenital heart diseases in children with the capability of infant and neonatal cardiac service, while there is a requirement is more than 900 paediatric heart centers for all of India,” says Sanjay Dhadwal, Team Leader at CHF.
Renowned neonatal and paediatric cardiologist Dr Vikas Kohli is the backbone of CHF. His focus is interventional cardiology and foetal cardiology. Under his expert guidance and treatment, the foundation has been able to provide free surgery and intervention to over 100 children from across the country.
According to statistics, around 1,75,000 children are born with Congenital Heart Defect in India every year. Roughly, one can say that one child in a hundred is born with this defect. Without surgical intervention, 30% of these children wouldn’t be able to see their first birthday.
“The numbers show the grave reality and yet, there are neither facilities nor enough expertise to help these children. Helping families that are in need is a privilege. These children become completely normal and lead a normal life. It is a joy to see these children grow up”, says Dr Kohli.
CHF organises free OPD in Delhi, Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Siliguri (West Bengal), Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh (Punjab), Srinagar (J&K) and Guwahati (Assam). Aside from providing treatment and regular care, the foundation raises funds for surgical intervention for the critical cases. CHF also conducts health talks in schools to raise awareness about following a healthy lifestyle and keeping away lifestyle-related diseases.
“CHF was started in 2013 by a group of seven parents who hadseen their own children suffer from congenital heart disease and wanted to help those who could not afford the expensive treatment. Now that they were over the tough part of their own life, they wished to help others in need. They along with Dr. Kohli are the trustees of this organisation,” informs Sanjay.
One of the trustees, Pallavi Bharadwaj, is a travel consultant. A strong and independent working mother, she sailed through bad times and came out a winner. Now, she is trying to help mothers like her.
“Being a mother, I feel strongly for parents having children with CHD. The mere thought of losing your child is scary and the greatest loss to any parent. Thus, I want to bring meaningful change in the lives of children”.
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