Teeing up for health cause
By Mukhtar Alam
KARACHI: Over a hundred members of civil society took part in a golf tournament in Karachi recently to support the Aga Khan University Hospital’s (AKUH’s) efforts to expand access to surgeries and procedures for children born with congenital heart defects (CHD) commonly known as “holes in the heart”.
Parents of a two-month toddler – who was one of the children to benefit from treatment sponsored through the University’s Mending Kids’ Hearts Campaign — were also invited to the tournament which saw the Siddiqsons team comprising Abdul Rahim Rafi, Abdul Rehman Badar, Junaid Irfan, and Waleed Chachar win with a gross score of 57 on the championship course.
An estimated 60,000 babies are born in Pakistan with CHD every year, with a third requiring immediate life-saving surgery. To date, Rs570 million in funds has been spent to provide life-saving and life-enhancing treatment to over 2,300 children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. “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 AKUH.
Dr. Aslam stated that specialists from the hospital were working to reach even more children suffering from CHD by conducting outreach camps across Sindh. Over 2019, AKUH’s team of cardiologists, sonographers, and surgeons traveled to Gambat, Tando Adam and Quetta and found over 370 cases of CHD who were referred for treatment to the Karachi-based hospital.
The AKUH’s CHD program is a part of national and international cardiac registries that set benchmarks for performance in the field with a view to providing world-class care, said a press release of the university.