Israeli NGO Save a Child's Heart has once again extended its lifesaving treatment to children in need. This time, two children along with their mothers have arrived from Eswatini, a small landlocked kingdom located in Southern Africa.
The recent arrival of the two children and their mothers from Eswatini exemplifies the group's commitment to reaching children in need around the world. Eswatini, formerly Swaziland, has become the 69th country to benefit from the expertise and care provided by Save a Child's Heart.
These children and their mothers have traveled a long way, seeking a second chance at life. Meanwhile, Save a Child's Heart provided them with the necessary medical evaluations, treatments and post-operative care to improve their cardiac health and enhance their overall well-being.
One of the children, Liyabonga – or Liya as his family calls him, is a 6-year-old boy from Mbabane, the capital of Eswatini. He is an only child and his mother tells us that they are extremely close. His father is currently studying in Rwanda and his mother is a teacher. When Liya was 3 days old his mother noticed he wasn't breathing properly. Liya was diagnosed with VSD, or ventricular septal defect, a birth defect.
Eswatini doesn't have a solution for children with heart conditions – Liya's mother was devastated because she believed there was nothing she could do to save her only child. She told Ynet: "Finally, my child will be able to play with the other children without getting tired so easily. I'm so grateful to Save a Child's Heart and all they have done for my family."
Snothando, the second child from Eswatini, has successfully undergone life-saving open heart surgery. The skilled medical team at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel ensured that Snothando received the critical treatment he needed for for TOF, or Tetralogy of Fallot, a combination of four congenital heart defects that affect infants and children. Currently, Snothando is on the road to recovery, showing promising signs of progress and winning the hearts of all the hospital staff. While Snothando is recovering, Liyabonga is waiting for his surgery
The medical service provided to children who arrive through the association from Africa is complex, according to Dr. Alona Raucher Sternfeld, director of Pediatric Cardiology at Wolfson Hospital.
"First of all, I don't have the possibility to see them consistently and continuously. Every cardiologist travels at least twice a year as part of a special expedition to Africa, and this is how we carry out the follow-up. We set out with two echo machines and examine 400 children in four days. Some were operated on by us and some were not."
"We have so far examined 800 children through the association from countries like Tanzania and Zanzibar. There are countries where we have never been, and suddenly we receive a request by email, by phone or even through Facebook, from a doctor, parent, diplomat or any other official who sends us a description of the case and according to this we need to decide whether to bring the child for surgery in Israel. Over the years, we have learned to asses based on the documents whether we can help and how. Of course, there is a bureaucratic procedure here and it takes several months," she adds.
As Save a Child's Heart expands its reach to Eswatini, it has reinforced its commitment to making a difference in the lives of children worldwide. The tireless efforts in the field of pediatric cardiac care, along with the support of a dedicated team and generous donors, continue to bring hope and healing to children in need, one country at a time.