A special Israeli delegation came home recently from the African country of Chad and brought with it several children who require life-saving heart surgeries in order to have the kids treated in one of Israel's leading hospitals.
The delegation was the first to visit Chad after former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the renewal of diplomatic relations with the country in 2019 following 50 years of diplomatic freeze.
The children arrived with the cooperation with Menomadin Foundation, MASHAV - Israel's official international development cooperation program, and Israeli Flying Aid, a non-profit, volunteer-based, non-governmental organization (NGO) that delivers life saving aid to communities affected by natural disasters and human conflict.
The children will undergo heart surgeries at Israeli hospitals since the treatment they require is unavailable in their country.
One of the children set for surgery is 14-year-old Abderman, who has been waiting for seven years to undergo treatment for his condition. “We’ve been praying for years for this surgery,” Abderman’s mother told Ynet. “His life is in danger because of the issue in his heart that prevents him from living like a normal boy. We didn’t think we’ll get the medical help for my boy specifically in Israel. He can now get his life back.”
Along with Abderman, nine-year-old Beynunu, and nine-year-old Abkar also landed in Israel in order to receive heart surgeries.
Since its establishment in 1995, Save a Child’s Heart has saved the lives of 6,000 people around the world, mainly children in third world countries and from states that don’t have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Over the years, children from 63 countries around the world were brought to Israel for treatment. Children from states like Afghanistan and Iraq are usually brought to Israel through secretive operations.
Doctors at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where the children will be operated, welcomed the delegation. The patients are expected to undergo the surgeries soon, and will remain in the hospital for up to a month before returning to their country.
“I was very happy to visit the ‘Save a Child’s Heart’ foundation and see the team’s amazing work,” said Ben Bourgel, Israel’s ambassador to Chad. “I was excited to meet Abkar, Beynunu and Abderman. The meeting represents the developing relations between Israel and Chad after 50 years without diplomatic ties.”
The Foreign Affairs Ministry was instructed to expand cooperation with Chad in matters important to both states, such as health, climate change and agriculture.