“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” – Nelson Mandela
Since our inception in 2012, we at Pakistan Children’s Heart Foundation (PCHF), have helped 2899 children get heart surgery at a total cost of over PKR 1.1 billion. This is the phenomenal success story of the newly born Ahmed, patient number 2889.
Just a few days after being born, Ahmad’s parents noticed a tinge of blue in his skin colour. After consulting relevant doctors and getting echocardiography, an ultrasound of the heart, little Ahmad was diagnosed with a type of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) known as Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). At a time that is usually full of happiness and pure joy, this news shocked Ahmad’s entire family to the core.
TGA is a serious but rare heart defect present at birth, in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed. This condition is also called dextro-transposition of the great arteries. TGA changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body can’t function properly and the patient faces serious complications, or even death, without treatment.
Ahmad’s family resides in Malakand, KPK and they had to bring him all the way to Lahore for treatment, as the required medical facilities were not available in their hometown. After an appointment with Dr. Mohammad Asim Khan, a renowned Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, they found out that the procedure needed to treat Ahmad was one that they could not afford on their own. However, with Dr. Khan being on the PCHF Medical Advisory Board, he referred them to us.
We provide the highest quality of care for children born with heart disease, irrespective of their financial means. Every year, around 60,000 children are born with CHD in Pakistan, and a large majority of these children are unable to get the treatment required due to lack of facilities, personnel and the high costs involved. That is where we step in.
We registered and scheduled Ahmad’s surgery as soon as we possibly could. During our swift registration process, Ahmad’s father informed us that he could arrange around half of the required funds, which was highly commendable given that he works as a shopkeeper and solely supports his family. Thanks to our incredible donor base, we were able to arrange the rest in practically no time.
The planned treatment for Ahmad’s TGA was a procedure called an Arterial Switch. It was to be performed by Dr. Asim Khan himself at one of our partner hospitals, the prestigious Ittefaq Hospital Lahore. We ensured that not only Ahmad, but also his whole family, was facilitated tremendously throughout the whole process. From accommodation to hospital-related formalities, everything was meticulously taken care of.
Blessedly, the prayers of Ahmad’s loved ones were answered as his surgery was a massive success! After a few days in the hospital under the special care of our brilliant team of healthcare professionals, he was discharged as a CHD Warrior. A family’s lifeline was restored, and along with them, we couldn’t be happier!
1 in 100 children are born with CHD. If they get timely access to quality treatment, they can have a fair chance at living a normal life. These children, who deserve a brighter future, vitally require our help and support.
Legendary Pakistani cricketer, Misbah Ul Haq, is also alongside us on the journey to conquering CHD in Pakistan, by helping build the nation’s first dedicated, state-of-the-art Children’s Heart Hospital & Research Institute (CHHRI), as a PCHF Board Member.
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