About 60,000 children – one in every 100 infants born in Pakistan every year – are born with congenital heart disease (CHD), sometimes referred to as a hole in the heart. Most of them do not survive beyond their first few years due to lack of awareness, and inadequate diagnostic and treatment facilities. In this context, Punjab golfers came together at the Defence Raya Golf and Country Club to support Mending Kids’ Hearts, a cause initiated by the Aga Khan University (AKU) to raise awareness over a game of golf and support for the tiny CHD patients who cannot afford the cost of a life-saving treatment.
Each year, the congenital cardiac programme team at AKUH performs more than 400 paediatric cardiac procedures. It is the only programme in the country to be both accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI) and recognized by the International Quality Improvement Collaborative (IQIC).
Seventy per cent of CHD patients at AKUH come from families without the financial means to afford the cost of outstanding surgical and medical care The Hospital’s Patient Welfare Programme has assisted over 2.25 million patient visits with Rs 9.5 billion disbursed since its inception in 1986. The primary sponsor of the tournament was Allied Bank, with Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad, Director Allied Bank as the chief guest.
On the occasion, Zahir Janmohamed, director general of AKU’s Resource Development, lauded partners and players for supporting the cause.
Previously, two tournaments held in Karachi supported over 150 CHD corrective procedures; the tournament in Lahore will fund an additional 30 procedures.