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Foreign surgical team gives hope to children
Created: 2010-11-27 0:23:03

HOU Yufeng smiles with relief at the examination report of her three-year-old daughter, who underwent heart surgery performed by a group of foreign doctors two years ago.

Hou, a farmer in Neiqiu County, in north China's Hebei Province, despaired when her daughter was diagnosed with congenital heart disease (CHD), because she could not afford the surgery that could mean the difference between life and death.

"I was excited when I heard there was a group of the world's top cardiologists visiting the Children's Hospital in Hebei Province who were giving children from poor families free treatment," Hou said.

"The surgery went smoothly and they gave my daughter post-operative support and care," Hou continued.

Hou's daughter is one of more than 100 children with CHD in Hebei Province who have been treated by doctors from the international humanitarian organization, "Save A Child's Heart" (SACH).

Driven by the Jewish tradition of "tikkum olam," or "repairing the world," the Israel-based organization, established in 1995, is dedicated to treating heart disease in underprivileged children in the developing world.

Since 1999, when SACH established a relationship with the Children's Hospital in Hebei Province, it has sent many teams of cardiologists of different nationalities to Hebei, giving free treatment to poor children and training local medical workers.

The president of SACH, Yoram Cohen, has received the Yanzhao Friendship Award from the Hebei government.

The award is given to foreign individuals and organizations every year for making outstanding contributions to Hebei.

"I didn't expect our work to get so much recognition," said Cohen. "I hope that in the future we can help more children in China and give them a carefree childhood."

SACH has also opened training courses for around 1,000 local doctors.

CHD is a major cause of childhood death in China, where more than 200,000 children are born with the condition each year ¨? only around 70,000 receive treatment, said Wang Jianming, a cardiac surgeon at Hebei Children's Hospital.

"Our hospital owes those foreign experts a lot," said Wang. "Before, we dared not operate on babies younger than three months old, but now it is routine surgery."


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