Over a hundred members of civil society participated in a golf tournament to support the Aga Khan University’s (AKU) efforts to expand access to healthcare for children born with congenital heart defects (CHD) on Sunday.
According to AKU, an estimated 60,000 babies are born with CHD, also known as holes in the heart, in Pakistan every year. A third of these infants need immediate life-saving surgery. The average cost of treatment for a child with CHD is Rs500,000.
To date, AKU has spent Rs570 million to provide treatment to over 2,300 children from financially disadvantaged families. The university’s Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign has been working since 2016 to raise awareness of CHD in children, as well as to gather funds to support them. It is a part of AKU’s efforts to achieve targets set Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to eliminate preventable causes of death in children by 2030.
“These surgeries and procedures represent the difference between a limited life, beset by fear of ill-health, and the ability for a child to achieve his or her full potential,” said Dr Nadeem Aslam, a cardiologist at Aga Khan University Hospital.
He added that specialists from the hospital were working to help more children suffering from the condition by holding outreach camps across Sindh. In 2019, 370 cases of CHD from Gambat, Tando Adam Khan and Quetta were referred to the hospital for treatment by these camps.
The golf tournament, won by a team comprising Abdul Rahim Rafi, Abdul Rehman Badar, Junaid Irfan and Waleed Chachar, is the ninth such competition organised by the campaign.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2020.