“When my daughter was 3 months old, I received a call from my wife – her voice frantic – telling me that our daughter has stopped breathing. I nearly stopped breathing myself. I cannot explain the feeling of terror. However, it was just the beginning. We rushed our daughter to the hospital and after five agonizing days and lengthy diagnostic procedures; we discovered that she was suffering from a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD).
We did everything we could to save her. She was operated in a private hospital where they formed her first BT shunt. It was during her illness that we learnt that due to the acute shortage of specialized staff and resources, the future of any Pakistani child born with CHD is very bleak. So was my daughter’s. She left us when she was three years old. Then, one day, my grief turn into my strength I didn’t know I had. Her memories gave me the motivation to start Pakistan Children Heart Foundation.
God be willing, I wished to prevent another little flower from withering due to inadequacy of facilities, from other parents’ hearts be broken like ours. We have now financially supported 300+ children’s heart surgeries. Each surgery cost around USD 4000 to 4500. Our ultimate goal is to build a free Children Heart Hospital. Around 40000 children are born with CHD in Pakistan and require at least one invasive surgery in their lifetime.
There are only 8 qualified surgeons and less than 25 specialist cardiologists in the country. It saddens me that our capacity is of a maximum 3000 surgeries including public and private hospitals while the number of children on waiting list in just one public hospital in Lahore has crossed 8,000. I know what it feels like to lose a child because of this inadequacy. How many more parents must have gone through what I did or still going through it? I don’t wish it upon anyone.
I am doing my best to do my part through my foundation. If you are a surgeon qualified to conduct CHD, I implore that please focus on your own country first and then think about going abroad. You hold our children’s future in your hands.”
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