Several young children can now breathe easy, thanks to free heart surgeries that were performed by DHA cardiologists to treat cardiac congenital abnormalities as part of the Nabadat initiative.
Nabadat, which means heartbeat, is an initiative launched by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Mohammed bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Establishment, to provide free medical assistance, surgery and post-surgical care to children whose parents cannot afford to pay for treatment of congenital heart diseases.
The DHA sponsors the treatment for Emiratis and the Mohammed bin Rashid Charity and Humanitarian Establishment sponsors treatment for expatriate patients.
More than 350 children (newborns to 19 year olds) with congenital heart diseases have undergone life-saving procedures since its launch in 2007.The treatment is open to both Emirati and expatriate patients.
Dr Obaid Al Jassim, Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Dubai Hospital said: “This time we have cooperated with a team of cardiac experts from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we will conduct 15 open heart surgeries and 15 diagnostic and/or interventional catherization procedures over the next few days. The aim of this initiative is to reduce the economic and physiological burden faced by families of children with congenital heart problems, provide a new lease of life young children as well as help in transfer of knowledge and skills. The initiative also helps reduce the cost of overseas treatment as such surgeries cost Dh300,000 on an average abroad.”
In the previous workshops, teams of experts from Italy and Sweden have taken part in this humanitarian initiative.
Jassim said: “Since its inception in 2007, more than 350 patients have benefitted from this program. In this workshop, the youngest patient is a four month old baby and the oldest is a 17 year old boy with down syndrome who requires to undergo a procedure to repair his valve. Since compliance with medication can be challenging in down syndrome patients, we have to ensure we follow minimally invasive procedures.”
In terms of complex cases, he said most of the surgeries in this workshop are moderately complex and that the team will also perform an arterial switch procedure for a ten-month old baby. This is a complex procedure, that the team has performed during the past workshops as well.
In June 2011, visiting doctors from San Donato Hospital in Italy and DHA cardiologists performed an arterial switch procedure on a 12-day-old baby weighing 3.2kg. The team performed their first arterial switch operation in March 2011, making Dubai Hospital the first hospital to conduct this complex procedure in the emirate.
This time, 40 per cent of the patients undergoing surgeries are Emiratis, the rest are expatriates and visitors. The patients are from Oman, India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Kenya and Philippines.
The DHA team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who perform these surgeries, include, Dr Obaid Al Jassim, Dr Ahmed Al Kamali, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist at Dubai Hospital, Dr Shahraban Abdullah Al Shari, Consultant Paediatric Cardiologist at Latifa Hospital and Dr Sameer Sajwani, Paediatric Cardiac Specialist at Dubai Hospital. A team of experts from Saudi Arabia also assisted in this mission.
As part of the Nabadat initiative, three more workshops will be held at Dubai Hospital in 2014 and DHA cardiologists also plan to travel outside the country to Sudan, Egypt and the Philippines to perform free paediatric heart surgeries for children in need.
Those interested in enquiring about the next workshop for free heart surgeries may contact Dubai Hospital on 219 5000.