How Access to Pediatric Cardiac Care is Changing Lives
November 14, 2023 | Contributed by Preeti Kumar
Children’s Day – the birthday of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru is celebrated across the country to acknowledge, celebrate and cherish our children. It is a day where we celebrate the hopes and aspirations of children and the promising futures that lie ahead each of them. While we celebrate the innocence and laughter that is synonymous with children, this children’s day it is also critical to take a step back to recognise and acknowledge children who have not had it so lucky- children who are battling critical health conditions that question their ability to grow and thrive – children born with a congenital heart defect.
Congenital heart defects are the leading birth defects affecting lakhs of children born across the country. As the name suggests these are defects in the heart it impacts the way the heart functions and hence has a lasting impact on the growth and development of the child. With many advances in science, children born with a congenital heart defect can now live near normal lives. Improvements in diagnosis and treatment facilities have meant that a larger percentage of children can now be treated well in time and hence have a chance at life and a chance to grow and thrive. The increasing role of Childrens Heart Foundation have also been responsible for a larger number of children getting access to lifesaving interventions.
Some of the changes in pediatric cardiac care that are improving the prospects of children born with a congenital heart defect are:
Advances in technology: advances in technology are playing a big role in both the diagnosis and the treatment of congenital heart defects. The use of foetal echocardiograms for example make it possible to diagnose a congenital heart defect while the foetus is still in the mother’s womb. IN the case of critical defects, it enable the team of doctors to be ready at birth to give the child access to life saving interventions. Innovations like the 3D printing, virtually assisted surgeries, minimally invasive techniques are also making it possible to treat a larger number of children. Genesis Foundation, a childrens charity works with hospitals to ensure that these advcanced technologies are also made available to children whose families would not be able to financially support the treatment.
A Chance at Life: as we celebrate children’s day we take a moment to rejoice the success stories of the many children whose lives have been impacted due to the changes in pediatric cardiac care. As a Child Heart Foundation, these stories inspire hope and motivate us to keep moving heart in our mission to Save Little Hearts to ensure that every child has access to a life saving treatment. Many of the children who have now healed are growing up to live their dreams – one child has opened an NGO of her own, some aspire to be a doctor, some a judge – the list is endless.
Improved access: access to pediatric cardiac care is considerably improved meaning that more and more children can now get a chance at life. Access to pediatric cardiac care should not be a luxury but the fundamental right of every child. The collective efforts by the government, hospitals, NGOs and many a childrens charity are ensuring that gaps in access to healthcare are narrowing. More and more children living in the remote parts of the country where the tertiary care centers are not equipped to manage congenital heart defects are now being able to get diagnosed and receive treatment on time. Many NGOs, like ours, regularly conduct screening camps in different parts of the country to spread awareness and screen children for heart defects. There has also been advancements in transporting babies needing urgent care to centres equipped to provide timely help.
While a lot of effort as gone in to ensure that every child born with a congenital heart defect gets the right treatment, a lot still needs to be done. There are still many children waiting for a treatment to keep their heart beating.
This children’s day, we celebrate childhood, let us pledge to support children who are deprived of the luxury of enjoying their childhood only because they are unable to be treated for a condition they were born with. Let us pledge to ensure that every child has the opportunity to embrace a future filled with laughter, dreams and the promise of a healthy heart.
Lets make hearts whole again