Child in Tanzania undergoes first open-heart surgery

Group of 20 doctors, nurses staffers from Save a Child's Heart to perform corrective heart surgery on 10 children in the African country.

July 29, 2011 04:59
1 minute read.

health operation surgery 88. (photo credit: Courtesy)

A medical delegation from the voluntary organization Save a Child’s Heart was due on Wednesday to perform the first open-heart operation on a youngster in Tanzania.

The group of 20 doctors, nurses and other staffers will stay in the poor African country for a week, during which they will perform corrective heart surgery on 10 children who were born with congenital defects.

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The operations will be performed at the expense of SACH, which receives donations and whose medical staffers donate their time and skills to the cause. Until now, most of the efforts of the organization – which was established at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon by the late pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Amram Cohen – have focused on surgery on foreign children brought to Israel and then sent home after they recover. The Tanzanian project operates on the children in their home country.

The international, Israel-based humanitarian organization has treated over 2,500 children in disadvantaged countries around the world since 1995.

To find the children who needed surgery, announcements were broadcast on a radio station asking families could apply. Some 200 families are expected to bring their children to Mwanza Hospital in Tanzania to be examined by the doctors, who will decide who can be helped by surgery. Beyond the first 10, SACH will bring others to Wolfson in Holon for heart operations later.

With the help of international supporters, volunteers and physicians, the SACH delegation will spend another week leading a climb of Mount Kilamanjaro to raise $1 million to help pay for saving the lives of additional African children.

Hospital director-general Dr. Yitzhak Berlovich said he was proud to be partners in “this humanitarian project, which glorifies the name of Israel in the world.”

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