NATIONAL HEART INSTITUTE - CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Approximately 8 of every 1000 children in India suffer from birth heart defects (Congenital Heart Disease – CHD). One of the chronic diseases, therefore, which account for almost 20 percent of the infant mortality in India is Congenital Heart Disease. Similarly almost 1-5% of children develop rheumatic fever before the age of 15 years (Disease of the heart valves). However facilities for complex heart surgery in children in our country are very limited. Either the children do not have access to new forms of treatment or they do not have the financial resources to meet the hefty costs of surgery. Considering the fact that 80% of medical care facility is in the hands of private sector in India, Rotary approached National Heart Institute, New Delhi in the year 2006 for a humanitarian partnership to save the lives of these unfortunate children.
Appreciative of the social responsibility, National Heart Institute joined hands with the Rotary movement and ‘Gift of Life’ project was launched to arrange free heart surgeries for economically weak children suffering from heart diseases. Children were given free cardiac surgery, medicine, food, accommodation, hospitality, boarding and lodging, conveyance etc. Till date over a 100 open heart surgeries have been performed at National Heart Institute under our corporate - social responsibility programme. Children came to NHI from all parts of India especially from remotest areas of North East India, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala & from abroad too. All surgeries were performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr. O. P. Yadava, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Cardiac Surgeon, National Heart Institute.
Only recently, NHI performed life saving open heart surgery on a critically ill child from Uganda under ‘Gift of Life’ project . The successful valve replacement of Kabuuka Emmanuel, a 16 year old boy has been the beginning of a new relationship between the people of India and Uganda according to Her Excellency Ms Nimisha Madhvani, High Commissioner of Uganda to India, who visited NHI to meet the child. Kabuuka underwent open heart surgery at NHI on 29 December, 2009 and returned to Uganda on 14 January 2009. This case was a challenge for NHI because Kabuuka’s surgery was rejected by 5 different hospitals in the US, being a high risk case. This was followed by launch of a new programme called 'Our Hearts are in Uganda' & one more Ugandan child Natu Kunda, was operated under this initiative with many more in the waiting.
Children in the past have come from neighbouring countries also like Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. This project is a classic example of how Rotary and NHI can promote peace and understanding between nations through international humanitarian service as this peace project is beyond borders, caste, creed, region, religion, race and colour. Through ‘Gift of Life’ partnership Rotary and NHI are giving life to children born to die!
Four children from Arunachal Pradesh also underwent successful heart surgery at NHI in January 2009. His Excellency Gen J J Singh, Hon’ble Governor of Arunachal Pradesh & Mrs.J.J. Singh visited NHI to congratulate the Doctors personally. Last year, Rotary International President Rtn D K Lee visited NHI to congratulate the team while seven children were being successfully operated.
Rotarians and the hospital staff at NHI, that are working on these children, are an answer to a parent's prayers and are changing the world, one child at a time.
NHI and Rotary intend to arrange 100 surgeries per year in the coming years. We invite all our friends & well wishers to join in this venture & help bring a smile to at least one face each.
Similarly National Heart Institute has tied up with Govt. of Uttarakhand for taking tertiary care services to the people of the remotest parts of the hill state of Uttarakhand. Under this scheme, regular heart check up camps are organized at Base Hospital, Almora and Dena Hospital, Dinapani and those patients suffering from advanced heart disorders needing interventional treatment or heart surgery are brought to Delhi. Over 35 patients have undergone complex Open Heart Surgeries at National Heart Institute under the Vyadhi Nidhi Programme in which the hospital performs the surgery free of cost and only the cost of disposables is met by the Govt. of Uttarakhand under this programme. This is one glaring example of a successful private public partnership for the welfare of the humanity.
As the ‘Gift of Life’ programme caters to only children and the ‘Vyadhi Nidhi’ is limited to residents of Uttarakhand, the ‘Winning Heart’ programme was started at National Heart Institute with a view to helping others, who did not fall under the purview of the above two categories, specially people in the middle and elderly age group. We have operated on 17 patients under the ‘Winning Heart’ scheme and here donations are accepted from Friends of National Heart and well wishers of humanity. When we take up a patient for surgery, any small amount that we can raise for the patient is acceptable & welcome and the balance is subsidized from the hospital resources.
All this has been possible because of the blessings of God Almighty & combined efforts of the Rotarians, especially Mr.Sushil Gupta, Advisor - Gift of Life & Managing Director, Hotel Hyatt Regency, Mr.A.C. Peter, National Coordinator – Gift of Life, Staff, Faculty and Friends of National Heart Institute, like Padma Bhushan Mr.P.P.Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, Mr.Harish Salve, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court and many more, without whose patronage these projects would not have seen the Light of the Day.
During the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of completion of 25 years, on 20th of August, 2006, National Heart Institute in association with Rotary Club, East End and Rotary International launched the Gift of Life Programme under which impoverished children are offered free open heart surgeries and other forms of treatment at National Heart Institute.