Would you like to help build a hospital wing for critically ill children? The Little Hearts project is supported and endorsed by the Sri Lanka College of Pediatricians (SLCP). They are collecting funds to construct the much needed Cardiac & Critical Care Complex at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH).
Sajeewa and his wife were awaiting the birth of their first child in 2005. Their anticipation and joy was cut short. Though his first cries thrilled the parents, the doctors observed Sakila’s face as it changed colours towards deep shades of blue. The baby’s health was worrisome and after just a few examinations, it was determined that Sakila was born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and instead of being able to take their bundle of joy home, the parents began their long journey of exploring Sri Lanka’s hospitals.
Back in 2005, there was no public institution in Sri Lanka which had a centre or staff specialised for infants with CHD. Sakila was admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo, but he was deemed too tiny to be treated by the hospital’s staff specialised in adult cardiac care. He was then referred to another hospital which was unable to perform the complex surgery on such a fragile patient.
The parents had exhausted all possible avenues. Even though they were a family of humble means, they refused to let finances step in the way of Sakila’s life. They raised enough funds and checked him into a private healthcare institution in Colombo. There, Sakila underwent a heart surgery and spent his first birthday in a hospital bed. In 2010, he needed another procedure because of unexpected complications. Even after a few weeks, Sakila was still unwell. He had a swinging fever and needed a prolonged hospitalisation which his parents could no longer afford.
He was transferred to LRH for further care. His condition deteriorated and, one Saturday morning, he had cardiac arrest. He was taken to the operating theatre for emergency surgery. After a few hours, he was transferred back to intensive care, now ready to begin his life as a healthy child. “We call this day his ‘second birth’,” says Sakila's father who, to date, passionately supports LRH in any way he can. Since his last surgery, Sakila’s health has improved tremendously. Today, he is 11 years old and besides daily medication. His ‘second birth’ is the hope of every parent of children suffering with CHD.
It is estimated that over 3,000 children are born with CHD in Sri Lanka per year. Every year, over 40% of these children do not have appropriate and timely access to the treatment they direly need. Congenital Heart Defects are the most common types of birth defects and with the proper treatment at the correct time, Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) will be able to save the lives of more children with the ailment. LRH is the only tertiary care referral centre for children with congenital heart disease and critical illnesses in the country.
Over 40% of children with heart disease are waitlisted, annually. Over 60% of critically ill children do not have immediate access to intensive care. Though LRH is exceptional in its service and the treatment rendered to its patients, they are in dire need of expansion to be able to provide extensive and timely care for children in need. The LRH cardiology team’s efforts have pushed the hospital’s capacity for treatment of children with heart disease from 15% to 60% in just a few years, earning them the BMJ Medical Award for Cardiology Team of the Year in 2015. Their ambition is to push the limits even further until they reach 100% – which is to be able to provide quality treatment to all children in need of cardiac and critical care.
However, there is no more room at the hospital to accommodate more patients and it can treat a limited number of children with CHD annually. The number of children in need of treatment is far greater.
The Lady Ridgeway Hospital needs 2 billion rupees to expand to extend their treatment and service to a larger number of children who are critically ill. By building a ten-storey Cardiac and Critical Care Complex of LRH, the LRH can save 200,000 critically ill children in Sri Lanka over the next 20 years.
The Cardiac and Critical Care Complex is a government-approved project deemed a national priority. You can save thousands of little hearts by pledging towards the building fund.
The Cardiac and Critical Care Complex is a ten-storey hospital wing which will be built on Lady Ridgeway Hospital grounds in Colombo. The building will feature cardiac operating theatres and it will increase the number of cardiac ICU beds from 18 to 40, include over 100 medical and neonatal intensive care beds, as well as the areas for advanced cardiac investigations and staff training facilities to provide optimum care for all children.
WAYS TO DONATE
Donate As A Gift
Instead of presents, gift a donation in your loved-one’s name. Click here to visit the website and to donate.
You can help raise funds by conducting your own fundraisers towards the project or donate online here.
Donate LKR 100 Monthly
Dialog and Hutch users: Subscribe to a monthly LKR 100-donation plan by texting REG
Donate Via SMS
Dialog and Hutch users: Send a one time SMS donation of any amount: LH
Donate at Keells Super: Visit any Keells Super store and request to donate any amount to Little Hearts.
Via Bank of Ceylon
Bank: Bank of Ceylon
Account Name: Little Hearts
Account Number: 79738633
Branch: Borella Supergrade Branch
Account Type: Current Account
(Images and information courtesy Little Hearts)