The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar has commended the work carried out by visiting heart surgeons and medical personnel.
At a dinner this week, the Minister hosted 52 Australian heart surgeons and medical volunteers from the Open Heart International. The visiting medical team had been conducting open-heart surgeries at the CWM Hospital.
At the dinner, Minister Akbar thanked the entire team for their commitment to assist Fijian families especially young children who suffer from heart complications.
“It was a great opportunity for me to have the firsthand experience of your expertise and indeed an honor that you have offered your service to our country. The Ministry has continued to support the Walk for Life initiative and it is through Mr Michael Fong, that we were able to raise awareness on the Congenital Heart Disease.
“Your contributions have given new lease of life to 24 children and their families. I have witnessed the smiles on the faces of the children and even the tears of joy of their parents. We sincerely thank you for your dedication to save the lives of those children. This partnership will continue as there is still a lot that can be done in terms of financial and counselling support services to effectively address Congenital Heart Disease.”
Open Heart International project coordinator, Dr Melanie Windus said it was a great privilege for the team to use their skills and save innocent lives.
“The amazing thing about this group of volunteers is that some of us have never met each other before and we came together for one common goal and that was to really help the people of Fiji, particularly those children. Since last few days, the two teams have operated on 36 children and adults – 24 of these were children.
“It was about making a difference in the lives of these families. We are already planning on coming next year as well and we look forward for this continued support from the Ministry of Children in assisting the families in Fiji,” Ms Windus said.
In March this year, the Ministry donated $5000 to support the, “Walk for Life” initiative that was established by Mr Michael Fong after his son died of Congenital Heart Disease a few years ago.
“As a way forward we are putting together a database so that we can monitor and further assist the families of these children who have undergone the operation. The cardiac team consists of professional doctors from Australia and they have done an excellent job. I would also like to thank Minister Akbar for her continued support towards Walk for Life, for without her support we wouldn’t have come this far,” Mr Fong said.
The dinner was organised by the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation and saw the exchange of ideas between Australian medical team, Children’s Heart Foundation and the Ministry officials.