A team from Leicester based charity, Healing Little Hearts, have spent a week on the island of Mauritius, performing lifechanging operations on young children in desperate need of medical care.
The trip, organised by RB Infinity Investment, gave Dr Phillip Arnold and Dr Arjamand Shauq the opportunity to offer their skills to children from the age of 18 months in need of corrective treatment for congenital heart disease, without which, many would face premature death.
An estimated one percent of the world’s population is born with some sort of heart abnormality, a high proportion of which will require intervention throughout their lifetime to treat their condition. In many countries, access to these high-tech procedures is limited, particularly for children.
The Healing Little Hearts charity was founded in 2007 to provide free heart treatment to infants and children in India. More recently, the charity has widened its scope, now offering the same medical care to patients across Africa and Malaysia.
Dr Arnold, a Consultant Anaesthetist from the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, said: “As doctors we’re trained to treat people who have illness. I think in many ways it’s an injustice that economics and politics denies some people in the world treatment which they would benefit from. It’s an opportunity for me to at least in some way address that and to use my specific skill set in order to try and do something about this.”
Treatment took place at the Port Louis Cardiac Surgery Centre, in the island’s capital city. A total of 22 operations were performed in all.
Dr Arjamand Shauq, a Congenital Cardiologist also from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said: “I want to treat children, wherever they are in the world. If they don’t have the facilities locally, I can provide my services. It is satisfying as a doctor to treat children who need the treatment.”
Minister of Health and Quality of Life for Mauritius, Anil Gayan, expressed his gratitude to those involved. Mr Gayan said: “We are very grateful to this team to have come all the way from the United Kingdom, the Healing Little Hearts charity, to operate on our young kids in Mauritius.
“We are very appreciative of the quality of work they have done and I’m sure the parents whose kids have been operated on will be very grateful to the team, who have done so much marvellous work.”
Dr Sanjiv Nichani, Founder of Healing Little Hearts (HLH), said: “We hope this will be the beginning of a long lasting collaboration between HLH and RB Infinity Investment to treat the poorest children born with heart defects in Mauritius.”
By Jennifer Morris