62 life-saving heart surgeries performed on Fijian children

Raijeli Ledua Tiko (middle) hugs her mum Litiana Marama while Nursing coordinator Helen Bailey smles away at the Sai Prema Foundation in Suva, on Thursday, September 22, 2022. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

More than 62 life-saving heart surgeries and 2200 free echocardiograms have been performed on children in Fiji at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital.

A team of world-renowned heart surgeons and specialists from the National University Hospital of Singapore (NUHS) arrived into the country on September 18 with the aim of conducting more than 20 operations for children with congenital heart disease.

Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital director Dr Krupali Tappoo said she was overwhelmed with the support from the Singapore team who were supported by specialist nurses from Malaysia and Australia as well as a team from India.

Leading pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon professor Dr Laszlo Kiraly said he was impressed with the newly-established hospital.

“The grand design of this healthcare facility has been planned and executed in careful consideration to the individual patient’s journey from diagnosis to treatment and aftercare,” he said.

Lead intensivist Dr Jacqueline Ong said Fiji had a great need for cardiac surgery.

“The child that is going home today had her surgery the day before yesterday and is ready to go home,” she said.

“We hope the majority of the kids that we operate on should be in and out of the hospital within a few days.”

Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital nurse coordinator Helen Bailey said the team was expected to be there from 10 days to up to two weeks.

“The actual surgical dates are approximately about 10 days, so they’re doing quite a lot of surgeries in a short space of time,” she said.

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