• In the last four months since its’ launch, the Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa has successfully completed three more life-saving surgeries for African children.

    The Foundation’s second beneficiary, preschooler Asanda is the first beneficiary from Inkosi Albert Luthuli Community Hospital in KZN, to have her heart fixed at Ethekwini Hospital and Heart Centre. Both hospitals worked closely to plan the 4-year-old’s corrective surgery to repair an Atrial Septal Defect and Patent Ductus Arteriosus ligation earlier this month as well as her post-op care.

    This courageous little girl went in for her surgery on 17 July 2019, under the care of the Foundation’s founder and renowned South African paediatric cardiac surgeon, Professor Robin Kinsley and was discharged from hospital on 23 July 2019.

    Asanda’s mum, Nokuzol reported back that Asanda is now happy, healthy and playing for the first time! “She used to struggle to eat well and didn’t have energy. Now she is eating a lot, talking too much and full of energy. It’s been so exciting for me. To the Foundation and the doctors I have no words, but I do want to thank them and God for the work they do in helping other children just like they helped my Asanda,” she said.

    9-year-old Gracious from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe was sent to the CCFA for a mitral valve repair but was misdiagnosed by her home country doctor. After much research and several local consultations, Dr Brian Vezi, an adult Electrophysiology Cardiologist was contacted and after examining Gracious, determined a cardiac ablation might resolve the underlying cause of her heart issues. On 24 July 2019, Gracious’s eight-hour procedure ended unsuccessfully, but Drs Brian Vezi, Lutchmi Pillay and Zohra Banoo, who all worked pro-bono on the case, were determined and performed a second procedure on 29th of July which was successfully completed in just two hours.

    Mum, Emelda was overwhelmed by the emotional experience but incredibly grateful to the doctors who saved her daughter’s life. She was overjoyed to report that Grace is now sleeping well and unaided for the first time.

    The fourth beneficiary, Hollyn is just five months old when she received her life-saving surgery at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, sponsored by Netcare, with assistance from The CCFA. The Pinetown-based family had all but lost hope that their little girl would survive when she was diagnosed with two holes in her heart. They said they were incredibly grateful to everyone who stepped in and gave their baby a second chance at life.

    The Foundation selects beneficiaries after careful review of each patient’s medical records as well as other selection criteria set by the Foundation. The minimum criteria for all potential beneficiaries are the beneficiary is presently treated in one of the 5 state-run paediatric cardiac facilities in South Africa for congenital heart disease. These patients can then be referred to the Foundation’s Panel of Medical Advisors, by their current cardiac specialist, for inclusion in the beneficiary selection process after completing a funding application form.

    If you would like to assist the foundation, visit the crowd-funding page, no amount is too big or too small: https://www.givengain.com/cc/tccfa

    Fast Facts about Congenital Heart Disease (CHD):

    • 1 in 100 children are born with a congenital heart defect.
    • CHD is approximately 60 times more prevalent that childhood cancer and 25 times more common than cystic fibrosis.
    • South African children born with CHD are placed on surgical waiting lists which can be up to 1 000 patients long. Without adequate financing, often this can result in years of waiting before they receive the surgical treatment they need, if there is still time.
    • Despite the fact that CHD’s, once diagnosed, are mostly treatable, more than 3 000 South African children die or remain disabled each year while waiting for surgery. For the rest of Africa, there are an estimated 335 000 annual CHD births, half of whom will die within a few years of birth.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com