The Children’s Heart Foundation has settled the payments of GHC552,575 for thirteen children suffering from congenital heart disease also known as Hole in Heart.
As part of its objective to save children in Ghana suffering from the disease, the Children’s Heart Foundation has over the past 11 years paid for the heart surgery of 221 children amounting to GHC555,000.
The occasion of the donation, which took place at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, had in attendance the beneficiary children together with their parents, some donors and the executive committee of the Children’s Heart Foundation.
In an interview with President of the Children’s Heart Foundation, Jacqueline Ahomka Lindsay noted that despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the foundation has been able to raise some amount of money to cater for these children.
Every year, the foundation caters for the bills of 21-23 children suffering from congenital heart diseases however, due to COVID-19; the foundation was only able to foot the bill of 13 children.
She said: “We do two or three presentations every year through our various fundraising events but this year COVID-19 struck us and limited our resources. However, this has been fulfilling for us because it’s been a tough year.”
She assured that the team is working assiduously to find other means of fund raising. This includes the maiden edition of the Garden Bazaar which brought together garden lovers and enthusiasts and provided an opportunity for all individuals to purchase unique Christmas Gifts, and contribute proceeds to saving children with hole in heart.
As each surgery costs not less than USD9,000, Madam Ahomka-Lindsay cited the change in dollar rates as a major challenge the foundation is facing as there is always an appreciation in the rates converting from the Ghana Cedis to U.S Dollars.
Mr. Edem Dzebu, a parent to 4-year old James (not real name) narrated that at five months, doctors informed him that all four chambers of Jame’s heart had an issue and needed a total repair surgery.
“So we had to act fast. We did a first surgery two years ago and almost every month we were in the hospital. Our money git finished and we almost gave up but the surgeons advised us to apply to the Children’s Heart Foundation because at this point, we needed USD9,000 for the surgery. So we complied and thankfully we are on the list to receive the rest of the surgery for free. We are very grateful for the Children’s Heart Foundation and I pray that they get more sponsors.”
Another parent, Joseph Ohene Kissi narrated that six years ago, his 11-year old daughter, Laura (not real name) suffered from fatigue however the situation was taken lightly. He said it was not until three years ago, when she collapsed while playing, that he saw the need to rush her to the hospital.
“And that was when we were told she was suffering from Hole in Heart. In the initial stages, we were visiting the hospital almost every two weeks. We later were directed to the Children’s Heart Foundation by one of the surgeons and I am very grateful for what they’ve done for us.
In an interview with Dr Lawrence Agyeman Sereboe, Director of National Cardiothoracic Centre –Korle Bu, he admitted that it has been a journey for both parents and children. He described that children suffering from congenital heart disease can hardly exert themselves and mostly are unable to walk 50 meters without getting tired.
He said in some cases, the children could collapse however once surgery takes place, their have the chance to live complete normal quality life.
He assured that the risks of complications from the surgeries are very low. “We test the blood before they are transfused to the children.”
He encouraged Ghanaians between the ages of 16 and 65 to donate blood to the blood bank. He said “It’s not harmful and we will not recommend if it was. We make sure you have more than enough to give before we take from you. We use less than half of our blood volumes and we take 500 ml. We also try as much as possible to make sure it is recovered within 48-72 hours.
Currently, there are 53 children on standby awaiting to be a part of the list to undergo this urgent and dire surgery. Interested donors are encouraged to send an email to [email protected] or dial *725# to follow the prompt.