A life changing opportunity provided to 13 Solomon Islands children have begun with the first eight having left for Fiji over the weekend and the remainder later this week.
This was made possible following an invitation sent out earlier this year by a Non-Government operated hospital in Fiji, the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s hospital to Solomon Islands to send children with some types of congenital heart diseases as they will receive visiting heart specialists to their hospital.
Based on the invite, 15 children were identified by Dr Maryanne Koraai, a visiting cardiologist from Colonial War Memorial (CWM) hospital, Fiji and the National Referral Hospital’s Paediatric Department for discussions with the US visiting team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeon working at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeeyani Children’s Hospital.
However, only 13 were accepted to travel to Fiji for the surgery, with the only expense that was met under this arrangement were the airfares and accommodation for the children and the accompanying parent or guardian.
The children were fortunate with the assistance of the newly formed Pikinini Heart Foundation that successfully mobilized funds from generous hearts, including contributions from families, friends and individuals, that made the trip possible.
Dr Bardley Ludawane accompanying the children to Fiji said that the trip is truly a blessing for the children as the surgery needed to address their heart’s medical condition would not be possible in country.
“One child with CHD Solomon Islands had cardiac surgery in Fiji at the same hospital earlier this year. However, this is the first time for us to be able to send a large group of children for cardiac surgery. Therefore, a historical event and great opportunity we don’t want to miss.
Health Permanent Secretary Mrs Pauline McNeil thanked the Management and staff of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital for providing this opportunity stating that the Ministry will look into sustaining this pathway for treatment in Fiji to help ease the burden of congenital heart disease in Solomon Islands especially for our children.
The Ministry of Health & Medical Services Executive on Friday 14th April, approved a draft MOU to support the Paediatrics Department of NRH and Sanjeevani Hospital to treat kids with heart diseases in Suva Fiji.
“I’d also like to express sincere thank you to the Pikinini Heart Foundation team especially Mr. Jack Martin and wife Mrs. Rose Martin and Mr Calvin Ziru and wife, Mrs Katalaini Ziru for mobilizing the much needed funds for the trip and organizing travels and all families, friends and individuals including business entities whom have come forward to support this important trip for our children”, said Mrs. McNeil.
Mrs McNeil also commends the Honiara Rotary Club in assisting children in need for advanced treatment overseas, mostly in Australia.
She highlighted that the Ministry is aware of the importance of having such service in country and thus the Comprehensive Medical Centre currently being constructed at the Eastern end of the NRH which the Ministry hopes to establish cardiac centre where these critical surgeries can be performed amongst other specialized services.
“Having the structure built itself is not enough, getting the equipment, appropriate and relevant capacity to perform these specialized services are all part and parcel of the current effort to have this service in country”, explained Mrs. McNeil.
She also thanked the NRH Paediatric team, Dr Titus Nasi, the Head of the NRH Paediatric Department and Dr Bardley Ludawane for all the effort from consultation with specialists in Fiji to preparing all the medical documentations for the children’s travel and in preparation for the surgery along with Dr Maryanne Koraai, the visiting cardiologist from Colonial War Memorial(CWM) hospital, Fiji and the US visiting team of cardiologists and cardiac surgeon working at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeeyani Children’s Hospital.
“To all our children who are now in Fiji ready for their surgery, we wish you well and may your surgeries be successful with God’s blessing”, said Mrs McNeil.
Source: Press Release, Ministry of Health and Medical Services