DURBAN – The parents of the two children born with a form of heart disease can rest easy knowing that their kids will have a chance to live life, as they were the beneficiaries of the Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa (CCFA).
The CCFA is an initiative by Lenmed.
Alwande, a five year-old girl and Luthandom, a six year-old boy, were operated on for their condition: atrial septal defect (ASD).
The two were part of a group of 35 children who benefited from the CCFA’s initiative.
Founder of CCFA, Professor Robert Kinsley, together with the leadership at Lenmed and sponsorships from the Sibaya Community Trust and Willowton Group, aim to reduce the number of children on the surgical waiting list to fewer than 100 nationally by 2025.
According to paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and CCFA Trustee, Dr Darshan Reddy, more than 500 children in KwaZulu-Natal who suffer from congenital heart defects are on a surgery waiting at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital.
The national waiting list for paediatric cardiac surgery is estimated to be more than 3 000 patients.
Reddy said the surgery Alwande received had altered her life for the better.
“These kids face certain death if there isn’t an intervention. The reality is that thousands of them who come from impoverished backgrounds tragically meet this fate.
“These babies are born with defects and the reality is that we need these collaborative initiatives to assist with limited resources. It is only through these public-private partnerships that the backlog (can be) eased,” Reddy said.
Durban businessman Vivian Reddy, who chairs the Sibaya Community trust together with former KZN judge president, Judge Vuka Tshabalala, said they were committed to the goal of reducing the number of children waiting for surgery.
“To date, the Sibaya Trust has contributed more than R230 million to various community projects, but this is a very, very special cause.
“By saving these children, we are breaking a generational gap of suffering. It is my hope that these children grow up to one day pay it forward, and this is how we heal the world,” Reddy said.
Niresh Bechan, eThekwini Hospital and Heart Centre’s CEO in River Horse Valley, north of Durban, appealed for more companies to join the initiative and help save children with heart diseases.
“There are so many children who need our help and we are appealing to other corporates and businesses in the private sector to collaborate with the CCFA to make a meaningful difference to their lives,” Bechan said.
Lenmed CEO, Amil Devchand added: “This cause speaks directly to our purpose in creating healthier and prosperous communities, we will not rest on our mission to assist the most vulnerable in our society.”