New charity program targets rural infants with heart diseases
One of Shanghai's top children's hospitals and a charity organization have jointly launched a program aimed at infants with congenital heart diseases in rural areas of China.
The cardio care program, initiated by the Shanghai Charity Foundation and the Shanghai Children's Medical Center affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, offers screening, surgery and recovery for baby patients and their families.
Dedicated volunteer teams made up of surgical physicians, cardiologists and social workers will help with disease screening and offer medical advice as well as tailor-made rehabilitation plans.
It's expected that more than two dozen families will benefit from the program in the initial stage.
The number of newborns with congenital heart diseases in China is estimated at 120,000 each year, a prevalence of around 2.4 to 10.4 per 1,000 live births, according to the National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases' annual report on cardiovascular health and diseases in 2019.
Liu Tingliang, a professor at the SCMC's department of cardiology, said early screening, surgery and recovery are crucial for infant heart disease patients.
"Many little patients have missed the window of opportunity to undergo surgical treatment due to lack of disease knowledge in rural areas," he noted. "We hope the program will become a long-term effort to spread knowledge about the disease to a broader region to benefit a larger population."
Rex Liu, general manager of Abbott Structural Heart in China, noted that timely treatment of congenital heart conditions is very critical to improve outcomes, and hoped the program will help diagnose and treat more children in remote areas so that they can live a healthy and fuller life.
Abbott has made 450,000 yuan (US$69,230) in cash donation to the program and provided 100,000 yuan worth of surgical device and materials.
The SCMC also hopes to join hands with partners to expand the program's coverage and target heart disease patients' rehabilitation and assist them in their everyday life.