Monday, January 28, 2019

Mending Kids’ Hearts: Children dying preventable deaths from congenital heart disease

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Pakistan shares a statistic with India, China and Indonesia: these four countries are home to half the children born with heart defects worldwide.
In Pakistan, a child born with a hole in the heart, known as congenital heart disease (CHD), is now healthier and living longer. But survival depends on how severe the defect is, how quickly it is diagnosed and how well it is treated. 
With most births taking place in rural communities, the number of babies born with heart defects is unclear – an estimate suggests that more than 60,000 infants with a hole in their heart are born each year. About half of these young patients will have a critical CHD and require surgery to survive one year. 
The Aga Khan University Hospital has stepped in to assist these children and their families. Its Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign, now in its fourth year, offers help and hope to those without financial means by covering the cost of quality surgical and medical care of children needing hospital procedures. 
Since the launch of the campaign in 2016, over 1,800 paediatric patients have undergone cardiac procedures at the University Hospital - a majority of whom received financial assistance of nearly PKR 400 million. 
To expand the reach of the Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign, this year AKUH is targeting 300,000 individuals through a camp in collaboration with Aga Khan Maternal and Childcare Centre, Hyderabad. The aim of the camp is to treat children who are overlooked by the health system, and to ensure that they get diagnosed and treated at the University Hospital in time.
Dr Babar Hasan, Service Line Chief of AKUH Children’s Hospital said: “We are now closer to our goal of saving over 1,000 children with CHD each year by 2020. At this rate, we are hoping to exceed our targets. None of this would have been possible without the support of our community which has stood by us in our mission to provide high quality care to young children regardless of their financial background.” 
The Mending Kids’ Hearts campaign has been working to raise both awareness of paediatric CHD and funds to support patients through the AKUH Patient Welfare Programme. 
Its most recent fundraising event saw supporters of life-saving corrective CHD surgeries gather at the Karachi Golf Club on Sunday to compete in AKUH’s signature golf tournament to enable access to quality cardiac care.
The four-man Texas Scramble format was won by the UMA team comprising of Khalid Jamil Siddiqui, Asad I. A. Khan, Khurram Khan, and Arshad I. A. Khan with a gross score of 58, 14 under par on the championship course.

General Body meeting of PIA Retired Employees Association (PIAREA)

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi

(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The PIA Chief has assured the PIA's retired employees 
that their pension will be increased in near future'

This was disclosed by General Secretary PIA Retired Employees Association 
(PIAREA) while addressing the  General Body meeting of the association.

He informed the members of some of the PIAREA achievements gained after 
a long struggle which included increase in PIA pension in 2013, free medical 
facilities for disabled sons/daughters of Retirees, abolition of Federal Excise 
Duty (FED) on free tickets to issued to Retirees, extension of medical facilities etc. 

He said successful efforts were made against proposed  privatization of PIA,

Earlier, he informed that no one will be appointed as Association's office-bearer 
for whole of life in future whereas efforts while efforts will continue to seek more
facilities for retired employees..

At the meeting, presided over by Chairman, PIAREA Zulfikar Ali, the newly elected 
unopposed office bearers of PIAREA, also took oath as office bearers. 

On the occasion the General Body also approved the Annual Report unanimously. 
and expressed their full cooperation in the PIAREA's struggle for restoration of  their 
rights .

The newly elected office bearers who took oath were;
Senior. Vice President: Chaudhry Muhammad Azam, Vice Presidents: Parvez Farid
Muhammad Aslam Malik, Mohammad Khan Sial, General Secretary: Syed Tahir 
Hasan Chiefy. Organizing Secretary: Shaikh Abdul Majeed, Finance Secretary: 
Rehman Khilji, Welfare Secretary: Nisar Ahmed and  Joint Secretary: Muhammad Yousaf