Delhi hospital helps heal African hearts
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Dhulkhulaifat Salum, a two-year-old from Tanzania, had problems digesting food, and despite undergoing a surgery in his country, felt no respite. Now, as part of a 17-patient group from Tanzania, he underwent a successful cardiac procedure here and is able to eat properly.
Doctors say Salum had a hairline-thin food pipe and could barely eat anything except liquids. He underwent a successful treatment at the Fortis Escorts Heart Institute here Jan 12, using the balloon angioplasty technique of cardiac treatment.
‘He used to vomit everything as soon as he ate. He had an operation in Tanzania, which was unsuccessful. But this one has been successful,’ Salum’s mother told IANS.
‘Earlier, he used to weigh only 3.5 kg. He is now a healthy 8.4 kg,’ she added.
K.S. Iyer, executive director for paediatric cardiac surgery, who along with other doctors conducted the operations, said each case was ‘unique’ and all patients have shown signs of speedy recovery.
‘As part of a mutual effort, these patients come here since there is no treatment for their problems in their country,’ he said.
Explaining the basis on which the 17 patients were brought to India, their facilitator from Tanzania, Ali, said the patients’ echocardiogram report decided who would travel to India.
‘We brought only those patients who had serious problems. We analyse the kind and the urgency of medical help they need,’ Ali told IANS.
Speaking at the event that marked the success of these operations, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said: ‘It is gratifying to see patients recovering from critical heart ailments, and now ready to go back to their country to start a healthy life.’
Another patient, Mbama Zuber Kashima, who belongs to the Maasai tribe of Tanzania, said she used to feel tired easily.
‘I used to feel breathless and tired on exerting myself. I have had this problem since the last three years. Since there was no medical help available back home, I came here for the operation,’ Kashima said.
‘I feel fine now, and am looking forward to going back home on Feb 8,’ she added.
The patients from Africa came to India as part of a joint sponsorship by Lions Club, Dar es Salaam, Regency Medical Centre and the Zanzibar health ministry.