Medical treatment provided to Afghan children

With numerous children dying from congenital heart diseases in war-ravaged Afghanistan, Fortis Hospital, Mohali has extended a helping hand by planning to provide medical treatment to around 40-50 children from Afghanistan every month.

As a part of its collaboration with the Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS), a 70-year-old humanitarian organisation working in Afganistan, Fortis Hospital announced the successful completion of 36 cardiac surgeries performed on children from Afghanistan.

The children, comprising of 25 boys and 11 girls, all aged below 19, were diagnosed with congenital heart diseases. The team, comprising of surgeons Dr T S Mahant, Executive Director, CTVS, Dr Amit Kumar, Paediatric Interventionist and Dr Manoranjan Sahoo, Director, Anaesthesia performed the surgeries.

Dr Mahant said, "Most of the children had complicated congenital heart diseases in their late stages, such as a hole in the heart and blue baby syndrome. Congenital heart defect is a critical issue in the health sector in war-ravaged Afghanistan and it is increasing day-by-day. It is a cause of concern about what might be happening to the newborns affected by the disease who require treatment within the first couple of weeks"

Talking about the challenges confronted during the surgery, Dr Amit said, "There were a wide spectrum of congenital heart diseases with some showing advanced complications like large multiple cerebral abscess with unconsciousness requiring neurosurgery".

Dr Manoranjan Sahoo added, "The youngest of them was an 8-month-old baby, Abdul Musafir, who had a hole in his heart. But all the patients have done extremely well post surgery."

Language proved to be one of the barriers while communicating with the children and their fathers, since they could only communicate in Dari, their regional language and the hospital had to appoint an interpreter, Abdul Hakeem, to talk to them.

Mohammad Usman, a government employee in Kabul and a father of six children, whose two-year-old daughter Bibi Lima was operated for the hole in her heart said, "Initially she began to have breathing problems, then we took her to the French Medical Institute in Afganistan. But our country does not have adequate advanced medical facilities. So, through registration in ARCS, we brought her here. Now, she is fine."

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