Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has concluded its Little Hearts project in Indonesia, which was conducted in co-operation with the Indonesian Red Cross Society (PMI) and Indonesia’s Ministry of Health (MOH).
Hosted by the National Cardiac Centre Harapan Kita (NCCHK) in Jakarta, the project reached out to a total of 40 poor children with congenital heart defects, at an overall cost of $105,591.
Over five months, ventricular septal defect (VSD) and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closure catheterisations were performed by a local medical team of 16 specialised doctors and consultants of paediatric cardiology, diagnostic non-invasive cardiology and anaesthesia.
The project was widely welcomed at the governmental and public levels for achieving a 100% success rate. It also gave the participating doctors the expertise to perform such interventions, QRCS said in a statement. Gifts and toys were distributed to the recovering children as a form of psychological support to encourage them to get well soon.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all preventive measures were strictly observed. The NCCHK prolonged the period of medical screening to avoid crowds, re-disinfected the hospital’s clinics and departments, and conducted swab tests for both patients and health workers to ensure reduced Covid-19 risks.
With nine out of 1,000 born-alive infants having congenital heart diseases (CHD), which means 40,000 in total all over the country, there is currently a long queuing time for CHD intervention due to lack of social funds to cover the needs, the statement points out.
The Little Hearts project in Indonesia is part of the Medical Convoys programme, launched by QRCS in 2002. Done in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medicine, it involves the deployment of specialised medical delegations to host countries, in order to treat poor patients who cannot afford the costs of surgeries in various medical specialties.
Over the past three years only, the programme has treated around 14,000 patients in eight countries.
Titi Hasanah, mother of Siti, said:, “We were told that the cause of heart problems is a hole from birth. When I took her to Harapan Kita Hospital, only after three times of consultation, they decided to do the intervention. Alhamdulillah. I realised that the process could be done quickly because of QRCS’s donation."
Elisnawati, mother of Jasmine, added: “When my child slept, her breath tended to be a little bit faster. If she ate or drank, she could not stand still, and then, she would vomit. Later on, it was noticed that she had a heart defect. She was referred to NCCHK for the procedure. I would like to highly thank QRCS, which helped my child and supported her growth. I hope that QRCS can support more children who have the same problem in Indonesia."