Heart congenital condition remains a silent killer in infants

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Heart congenital conditions among infants remains a silent killer. Many don’t survive due to a lack of financial resources and medical expertise.

The Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa aims to help ailing young patients through a unique partnership to reduce public backlog cases.

At six months, Refilwe Sibiya was diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition.

Sibiya says:”I was born with one heart valve instead of two, a normal human is born with two, one which carries oxygenated blood and the other de-oxygenated blood. I didn’t have enough oxygenated blood in my body, that’s when things started to be complicated.”

Two operations were only possible through donations and 29 years later, Refilwe keeps on giving back.

Five years ago she set up a non-profit company to help disadvantaged youngsters in the field of technology.

“I know if I was not been given the chance, I would not be able to help the lives I am helping now and that’s why I have such a great passion for transforming lives.”

Now an initiative is opened by the veteran surgeon who operated Refilwe.

After more than fifteen thousand open heart surgeries, the 78 year-old is not yet done.

Surgeon Professor Rob Kinsley says:”The incidence of heart disease among children is absolutely huge problem and about 300 000 children are born in Africa with congenital heart disease. There is no way any state facility can help these children and we have started a unique foundation which we intend partnering with the state in a public private partnership. My dream and my hope is that every child no matter what his financial circumstances, no matter the economic situation, will have access to paediatric cardiactic treatment.”

The numbers on the continent are staggering.

Professor Kinsley says:”Of the children with cardiact disease in Africa not more than 1% are treated surgically. About 99% of them do not survive, that is almost an unthinkable situation.”

But with funding there’s hope for every little patient.

So far the foundation has managed to send a healthy and bouncy Ghanaian toddler back home.

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