14 April, 2021

Tackling congenital heart disease in children

A Tata Trusts partnership with the Chhattisgarh state government is helping children get a shot at healthier lives.

Bhuyash is a good student who wants to become a scientist one day
Bhuyash is a good student who wants to become a scientist one day
Bhuyash is a good student who wants to become a scientist one day
Bhuyash is a good student who wants to become a scientist one day

Nine-year-old Bhuyash lives in Durg, Chhattisgarh. He had developed a bad cough and cold when he was one-and-half years old, and an investigation had showed a serious complication. Bhuyash was one of India’s 200,000 children* to be born with congenital heart disease (CHD). He needed surgery that would cost lakhs of rupees, and the family could not afford it.

Detection and treatment of cardiac anomalies require expertise and high-end facilities. Surgical interventions can prove to be unaffordable for the economically challenged. In 2018, the Chhattisgarh state government initiated the Mukhyamantri Bal Hridaya Suraksha Yojana under the Chirayu Chhattisgarh initiative to identify and treat children with CHD.

The Tata Trusts have partnered the Chhattisgarh government to strengthen the public healthcare system. At their request, Tata Trusts support the Chirayu Chhattisgarh initiative for development of capabilities for screening, early detection and treatment of children suffering from CHD. The Trusts also subsidise half the cost of surgeries while the rest is taken care of by Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Centre for Child Heart Care, in Atal Nagar (Nava Raipur).

A child engaged in drawing during the recuperation period post heart surgery
A child engaged in drawing during the recuperation period post heart surgery

The hospital is supported by the Tata Trusts for diagnosis and treatment of children from Chhattisgarh with cardiac issues. The intervention covers patients requiring early/immediate intervention, development of fellowship programmes and training health professionals under 23 identified roles (across medical, nursing and paramedical) in pediatric cardiac sciences, and setting up CHD screening centres in different parts of Chhattisgarh.

The initiative provides hope and solutions to thousands of children like Bhuyash. Over the years, Bhuyash’s condition had worsened and he developed trouble breathing. Unable to play like other children, he became depressed. Anxious about his health, his family started looking for solutions. A relative of the family told them about the free pediatric cardiac centre at Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital (SSSSH).

Bhuyash’s family visited the hospital and were given a date for surgery in 2018. Due to unavoidable circumstances, they missed the date and Bhuyash remained untreated.

Two more years passed and as Bhuyash’s condition became worse, the family became more anxious. With no other option in sight, his father wrote an application to the Home Minister of Chhattisgarh seeking help for his son’s treatment. He received a reply suggesting that the family revisit SSSSH. That advice encouraged Bhuyash’s family to go back for a second visit.

On 19 February 2021, the nine-year-old was successfully operated for his clinical conditions of Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV) and Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF). “If this hospital hadn’t helped us, then it would not have been possible to save my child’s life,” says Bhuyash’s father, Harish Kumar Rishi (name changed).

The young boy is now healthy and can lead a normal life. Bhuyash runs and plays, is a brilliant student, loves painting and wants to become a scientist when he grows up. Thanks to his surgery, he can pursue his dreams!

A Tata Trusts partnership with the Chhattisgarh state government is helping children get treated for congenital heart disease

*Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30745481/

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Healthcare North India