Rotary News July 2015

Page 57

Mending little hearts A C Peter

W

hen 2-year-old Samudh Gunawardhar from Sri Lanka, referred by Rotary Club of Colombo, landed at New Delhi with his parents Oshan Wijesiri and Malitha Nammuni on May 26 by Sri Lankan Airlines, they never felt that they were in a foreign country; they were at ‘home,’ in the safe hands of Rotarians and hospital staff. After a day’s rest at the accommodation arranged by the Gift of Life (GoL) coordinators, Samudh was operated upon at the Fortis-Escorts Heart Institute in Delhi for TOF, a critical Congenital On road to health: (From left) DG Sanjay Khanna, TRF Trustee Chair Heart Disease (CHD). He is the 18th child John Kenny and TRF Trustee Sushil Gupta with a GoL beneficiary. from Sri Lanka to be treated under Rotary heart surgeries under GoL, for underprivileged children. GoL project. Sri Lanka lacks adequate facilities for critical open Commemorating this milestone, RI launched an animated heart surgery for CHD patients. Same is the case with campaign, ‘Saving little hearts.’ GoL India Chair Ravishankar Bhooplapur (PDG of D other SAARC nations such as Nepal, Pakistan and also the Tibetan Government-in-Exile from where recently 7250, USA) organised a fund-raiser dinner at New York recently where substantial funds were collected for treating many children visited Delhi for open heart surgery. Children also come here from Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, children with CHD in India. “I do not want any child to die for lack of financial resource for treatNigeria, El Salvador and Zambia for ment of CHD and I am always willing open heart surgery. Over 30 children This is a classic to support Clubs and Districts for this from Uganda have benefited from this example how Rotary project,” he said. TRF Trustee Sushil project. Nyasha Joshua Mwamba (18) Gupta is the Advisor for GoL Delhi. from Zambia, referred by the Africa can promote peace and TRF Chair John Kenny visited this Vision of Hope through Gift of Life understanding between project recently along with his spouse International, also underwent treatment June, and said, “This is a classic examfor CHD here in June. nations through ple how Rotary can promote peace and CHD accounts for 20 per cent of international understanding between nations through infant mortality in India, affecting 8 humanitarian international humanitarian service.” out of every 1,000 live born infants. An GoL New Delhi has so far spent US estimated 2.25 lakh children are born service. with heart problems every year, 30 per $1.02 million from grants in addition to cent of which are serious and could be substantial funds from GoL and donors. fatal without surgical intervention. This month, TRF sanctioned US $131,000 Global Grant But facilities for CHD surgery are limited to only 12 (GG), and 18 Rotary clubs/Districts in India joined as host Indian hospitals. Successful treatment requires specialised partners for this GG. Two more applications with support care and financial resources. Rotary has joined hands with from TRF Trustee Jackson Hsieh and Bhooplapur as international partners await TRF approval. Hsieh supports specialist private hospitals in Delhi for performing open the programme and Rotary Clubs and Districts of Taiwan heart surgery for economically weak children (up to 20 participate in GoL grant schemes every year. years) suffering from congenital heart diseases. GoL Delhi aims at performing 300 surgeries a year and Ever since its auxiliary, Rotary (Delhi NCR) Gift of Life Trust, was formed on July 20, 2005, three CHD urges Rotary clubs to refer deserving cases. diagnostic medical camps were organised at Jammu, Imphal (The writer is National Coordinator, and Kochi. Rotary India has successfully completed 5,000 Gift of Life - India)

JULY 2015

ROTARY NEWS 57