Kochi: A group of ten young children from Uganda including one boy and nine girls suffering from congenital heart disease have successfully undergone open-heart surgery at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (Amrita Hospital) and are ready to return home next week, all hale and hearty. The patients have been brought to India under Rotary International’s ‘Gift of Life’ program which provides free treatment to child heart patients from economically disadvantaged families in low and middle-income countries from around the world.
The children, including two infants aged 6 and 9 months, were previously screened by pediatric cardiologists from Children’s National Hospital, Washington DC, USA, and identified as suitable candidates for surgery. When the mother of nine-month-old Beth Amutuhaire, struggling for life due to a critical congenital heart disease, was approached by Rotary International in Uganda offering free open-heart surgery in India, she refused initially, as she had already been cheated twice of her hard-earned money due to false promises. The parents of two-year-old Atoo Rescurter were fighting against social prejudices of their own community elders, who were asking them to leave the child to her fate to suffer. Similar was the case of six-year-old Benson Muheki whose parents were told that her heart problem could never be fixed.
The successful treatment of these Ugandan children is a reflection of India’s global status as a strong tertiary healthcare hub and also bears testimony to the warm hospitality and affordable treatment.