GIS – 17 November 2016: A team ‘from Healing Little Hearts’, a United Kingdom based charity that sends specialist medical personnel to India, Malaysia and Africa to perform lifesaving heart operations on babies and children, is presently in Mauritius to undertake corrective heart procedures on 22 children at the Cardiac Centre in Pamplemousses. The youngest patient is 18 months old.
The team was presented to the press by the Minister of Health and Quality of Life yesterday in Port Louis. It is made up of a cardiologist, Dr Arjamand Shauq, and an anaesthetist, Dr Arnold Philip. Lifesaving operations have started since Monday 14 November 2016.
The one-week mission of ‘Healing Little Hearts’ to Mauritius is part of the initiative of the Trust Fund for Specialised Medical Care to set up a paediatric cardiology department at the Cardiac Centre with a view, among others, to improve care for the children through early diagnostic and timely cardiac intervention and surgical repair. This initiative is in line with Government’s objective to have complex and delicate surgical operations performed in Mauritius, instead of sending local patients abroad for treatment.
At the press conference, the Minister expressed his gratitude to the Charity for having extended its collaboration to Mauritius. He was also thankful for the performance of complex medical intervention on some 22 children, for the benefit not only of Mauritius, but also for the parents as all these operations had to be done to ensure that the children live. “Had those patients not have been operated on, many would have been highly dependent on very expensive medicine, have a very poor quality of life and died early,’ Mr Gayan said.
According to the Minister, the change in policy to have international medical experts to come to Mauritius to perform complex surgeries instead of sending patients overseas is proving to be highly beneficial for all concerned, in terms of patients’ well-being and financial costs. Recalling that illness and hospitalisation are always stressful experiences for child patients and their families, Mr Gayan stated that sending an 18 month-old baby overseas is not the best kind of treatment that can be given to any patient. He added that other teams from Switzerland and the United States of America were presently in Mauritius to undertake complex surgical operations.
With regard to the continuous medical education programme which has started since 1st August 2016, the Minister voiced his expectation that at the next visit to Mauritius of doctors from ‘Healing Little Hearts’ Charity, a part of the timetable will be dedicated to continuous medical education of local doctors. “My ambition as Minister of Health is to reach a time in the future, in five to ten years, when we will be able to provide with our own personnel the treatment being given by international medical experts to our patients, as well as share our skills and competence with other countries in the region,” underlined Mr Gayan.
In August 2016, a database on the number of children with congenital heart defects living in Mauritius and Rodrigues was launched with a total number of 106 registered children. The children were examined by a medical team with the assistance, and under the supervision of the renowned specialist in paediatric cardiology and paediatric cardiac surgery, Dr Bernard de Geeter. Medical procedures that do not require open heart surgery were performed in five cases. A list of more than 20 children, who will have to undergo open heart surgery within either six months or a year, was established.
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