Save a Child’s Heart (SACH), an international, Israel-based NGO dedicated to treating children in need of cardiac care, is currently helping 16 children from diverse backgrounds at the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, a governmental, non-profit teaching hospital and the second-most-active center for pediatric cardiac surgery.
The patients include seven Ethiopians, ranging in age from less than a year old to 16; a 10-year-old boy from Honduras; a two-year-old girl from Ghana; a nine-month-old boy from Iraq; an almost-four-year-old boy from Peru; and an 11-month-old boy from Romania; a five-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl from Tanzania; and a four-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl from the Palestinian Authority-administered territories.
According to the SACH website, Congenital Heart Disease takes the lives of thousands of children in developing countries each year, and eight out of every 1,000 children born worldwide have some form of CHD.
Founded in 1995, SACH provides lifesaving surgery and other critical procedures for children from developing countries care– irrespective of race, gender, nationality, religion and financial situation – and holds pre-operative and follow-up cardiology clinics in Israel and abroad. To date, it has provided care to more than 3,000 children from Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and throughout the Middle East.
The humanitarian organization also aims to create competent medical centers in those countries; in this regard, it offers a comprehensive training program in Israel for doctors and nurses from countries in need of such facilities and leads surgical and teaching missions to partner countries in the developing world.
In certain countries – China, for instance, has made impressive technological advances in recent years – doctors face fewer challenges treating children there. When necessary, they bring medical equipment from Israel.
In fact, only 20 years ago, Israeli children suffering from heart disease were sent abroad for care. Israeli physicians travelled abroad in order to develop their skills in this field and are now using their expertise to help others as well.
For the vast majority of patients, SACH and its partners cover their medical costs completely, from the beginning of treatment throughout the recovery period, including a lifetime of medical examinations, if required.