On Wednesday, three little patients will become children again thanks to their Angels.
Last week, five-year-old Wanga and her dad, Takalani, visited the studio, where they heard that Wanga’s heart problems will be over soon. She is one of the estimated 11,000 children born with heart defects in South Africa every year. She was diagnosed with a PDA – or a hole in the heart – a birth defect that can be mended through early detection and surgery.
The procedure Wanga needs involves a small cut in the groin, to insert a small device that will close the hole and allow her to go home the next day. However, like most of the children born with congenital heart disease, Wanga’s parents, Rendani and Takalani, cannot afford private healthcare and they have to rely on the over-burdened state health care system, to wait her turn. Time is of the essence and without this simple but costly surgery, Wanga’s condition and health will worsen.
Today, Wanga and two more state heart patients will receive their life-changing heart procedures as part of a special project to mark the end of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week.
Operation Healing Hands is co-ordinating the effort with surgeon, Prof Lindy Mitchell, and medical personnel offering their services for free. Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital is sponsoring theatre time and hospital facilities, while medical company, Vertice, is sponsoring the closure devices. The aim is to help a total of 20 children in this way this year.
Despite all of the generosity, they still need R30,000 per child to cover the cost of consumables used during the procedures.
Angels, Naked Insurance, donated R100,000, listener Ric Martin from Ric Martin Law added another R60,000, and the Good Morning Angels Fund contributed R50,000.
Some more generous donors added another R40,000 – a total of R250,000. They need another R350,000 to complete 20 surgeries.
Congenital heart disease, also described as a heart defect, refers to one or more complications with the structure of the heart, which is present at birth. The defect is due to a baby’s heart not developing properly during pregnancy. The disease can change the way in which the heart pumps blood, where the blood flows too slow, in the wrong direction or blocking the flow completely.
It is estimated that around 11 000 South African children are born with a heart defect each year. Where congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect. Approximately 4 500 of the 11 000 children, need life-saving surgical intervention. Through proper treatment, the prognosis for most of these children is outstanding, where at least 85% of them are expected to survive to adulthood. However, less than 25% of these children receive proper treatment. This is due to either misdiagnosing, identifying the defect too late or state facilities not being able to carry the capacity of patients in need. Survival for these children is depending on a timely diagnosis and urgent medical treatment. Every year, over 3000 children die, or are left disabled due to their heart condition.
Vertice MedTech is taking hands with Operation Healing Hands and Zuid Afrikaans Hospital, to save the lives of children with congenital heart disease. Prof. Lindy Mitchell and Prof. Jayneel Joshi, 2 two (2) Paediatric Cardiologists, are offering their services and will conduct procedures to help save the lives of these children. Operation Healing Hands are expanding their offering to the cardiology space, Vertice MedTech will be donating the closure devices and catheters for the procedures, Zuid Afrikaans Hospital is donating theatre time and Prof. Mitchell and Prof. Joshi will be performing the procedures for free.
The project’s kick-off will be from 7-14 February 2023, as this is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week. On 15 February 2023, all parties involved will contribute to conduct five (5) procedures at Zuid Afrikaans Hospital, where the lives of five (5) children will be saved. These children are on the waiting list to receive treatment at State Hospitals and though this initiative, we can ensure that they do not lose their lives while waiting for their turn.