Patients’ Welfare Society of the Agha Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and the Pakistan Children Heart Foundation (PCHF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to which both organisations will cooperate to provide low-cost and quality treatment to children with inborn heart diseases.

The MoU was signed at a ceremony held at AKUH on Sunday, which was attended by Paediatric Cardiology Consultant and Agha Khan Children’s Hospital Service Line Chief Dr Babar Hasan, Paediatric Surgeon Dr Asim Khan, PCHF Board member Farhan Ahmed, AKUH Patients’ Welfare Society head SM Pervaiz, Senior Adviser Nadeem Mustafa Khan, PCHF members Hasan Bukhari, Mujtaba Bhatti, National Cricket Team former captain Misbah ul Haq, former cricketer Saeed Anwer, and other paediatric doctors and surgeons.

Dr Babar Hasan, while addressing the ceremony, said that 50% of the children suffering from heart diseases are from one of these four countries – Pakistan, India, China and Indonesia. “Our attention is on every child in Pakistan who is suffering from any type of heart disease,” he said.

“This is a major problem of the country, for which specialised hospitals and doctors are needed,” said Dr Hasan. “The objective is to provide low-cost quality treatment to those people who cannot afford it,” he explained, adding that the number of patients suffering such conditions will increase with the population.

PCHF Board member Farhan Ahmed said, “life is too short and time is limited.” He pledged that the PCHF and AKUH’s Patient Welfare Society would work together to ensure that every child gets medical treatment, in line with international standards.

According to Ahmed, patients from across the country, especially in areas where treatment options are limited, will be brought to the AKUH for treatment. “Besides, we want to introduce a screening system for the diagnosis of diseases before birth,” he said.

Former captain of the national cricket team, Misbah ul Haq, expressed gratitude toward the AKUH and PCHF for making him part of the noble cause, adding that they would ensure the programme is a success.

According to Haq, the treatment for heart diseases is so expensive that parents often only worry about the expenses and can’t seem to avail many options for medical interventions. “Together, we will ensure that no child suffering from heart diseases goes untreated,” he said.

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