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60,000 Pakistani children born with congenital heart diseases every year

No health facility in Balochistan to treat them

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 15, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jul 15, 2019 | Last Updated: 2 years ago
60,000 Pakistani children born with congenital heart diseases every year

In this photograph taken on May 12, 2016, a Pakistani doctor attends to a sick newborn baby in the children's nursery at a hospital in Muzaffarabad. In 2014, a report by the charity Save the Children stated Pakistan had the highest rate of first day deaths and stillbirths in the world, at 40.7 per 1,000 births. / AFP PHOTO / SAJJAD QAYYUM / TO GO WITH Pakistan-health-family,FEATURE by Sajjad QAYYUM

About 60,000 Pakistani children are born with congenital heart diseases (CHDs) every year and around 25% need early surgery or other relevant interventions to survive, said Head of Paediatric Cardiology at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) Prof Najma Patel.

She said that there is not a single health facility in Balochistan to treat CHD-like health problems.

“About 35,000 child patients are able to visit a paediatric cardiology facility each year, while there also hundreds of them who remain undiagnosed or under-diagnosed,” said Prof Patel on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Monday.

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“There is no apparent reason why these children are born with heart diseases,” she explained.

The patients are from all age groups from foetuses to old age, she said. “By foetal echocardiography, it can be detected before birth that the child will be born with congenital heart disease.”  A foetal echocardiography is a test similar to an ultrasound.

However, she said not all parents can get echocardiographies done because of lack of facilities. There are too many pregnant women and not enough machines.

While talking about NICVD, she said that it was the first institute in Pakistan to provide paediatric cardiology services where surgeries for CHD are being performed since 1974. She added that because of the increasing cases, a single hospital cannot treat them all.

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