By Sakul Kundra
Recently, the Prime Minister of Fiji Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka enhanced the morale of Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital on the occasion of achieving the milestone of accomplishing one-hundredth life-saving heart surgery.
This hospital is a project by Sai Prema Foundation Fiji, a leading local charitable organisation founded to serve the poor and underprivileged, that provide free health care and social services.
This humanitarian effort of providing a Gift of life began last year in April. A number of free services in this regard have been provided by the hospital, which is an immense support to the parents who could not have supported the expensive surgeries required for their children.
The charity provided by the hospital to young children by completing 100 life-saving heart surgeries, cannot be described in words but can be seen in the wet eyes of parents with emotional tears triggering out; prayers of thousands of mothers; and smiles and thankfulness on the face of recovered children.
This op-ed is to congratulate the immense work performed by Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital and also applaud PM Rabuka for motivating charitable humanitarian work in Fiji.
Bringing Smile at Heart
This would not have been possible without the contribution of Sumeet Tappoo, the Foundation Director of the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital Fiji.
“For a young Hospital to make such a significant impact upon our beloved nation is truly remarkable. Tremendous amounts of hard work, dedication and sacrifice has been made by medical and non-medical individuals in Fiji and around the world to enable this Hospital to carry out this monumental task.
This has set a new benchmark in the field of cardiac care for our nation and a solid platform upon which many more feats will be achieved for the benefit of the children and people of Fiji and the Pacific”.
The surgeries were conducted by world-renowned international teams of surgeons and Pediatric Cardiac super-specialists in their respective.
This $25 million state-of-the-art Paediatric Cardiac Super Speciality facility has been treating children born with congenital heart disease.
No Billing Counter: Now and Forever
Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital does “NOT have a billing counter. All surgeries and treatments are completely FREE OF COST” (Press Release, 2 Feb 2023).
It was highly difficult for Fijians to get expert paediatric cardiac facilities in Fiji, before the opening of this hospital. Parents had to depend on overseas treatments that were highly unaffordable and challenging.
On this accomplishment, Sumeet Tappoo said:
“It is a matter of great pride that Fiji is the first nation in the Pacific and Oceania region to have such a hospital. All surgeries and treatments are performed absolutely free of cost. The Hospital does not and will not ever have a billing counter!”
This hospital has brought a transformation in the Pacific that has attracted children across Oceania to get treatment in the field of paediatric cardiac care from expert medical doctors. This made Fiji proud and gave a sense of deep satisfaction.
Sumeet Tappoo also assured that despite the charitable nature of the project, the Sai Prema Foundation has created a world-class facility with the aim of providing the best possible surgery and treatment to the children of Fiji and the Pacific. He added:
“The Hospital houses state-of-the-art equipment for its Operating Theatre, Intensive Care Unit, Preoperative and Post-operative Wards. The Hospital also includes a Training Centre with technological capabilities for international Video Conferencing. The vision of this children’s hospital is to become the most important Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Fiji and the Pacific Island nations”.
International standards are maintained to give the best treatment to the children of Fiji and around the world.
The facts and figures of international organizations like the World Health Organization show a huge concern and sad state of children affected by Congenital Heart Disease, that are not able to survive without surgical treatment.
However, the selfless service was also reflected in the message given by Sadguru Sri Madhusudan Sai during the inauguration of the hospital last year. He noted:
“Human birth is the beautiful moment that everybody wants to celebrate—when a child is born in a family, it is the most auspicious moment. But it turns into a sad moment when the parents realise that the child is born with a congenital heart disease, and though it is preventable or curable, they can’t do anything but see the child die, because of the financial barrier that does not allow them to treat the child.”
“Therefore, it is our vision to see to it that education, health and nutrition are fundamental rights given to all the children of the world. We can create a world where every child has access to healthcare and no child is denied healthcare for want of money. This is the vision of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Child Heart Care Hospitals, which is setting up pediatric heart care hospitals around the world and the first international chapter opens today in Fiji, for which we are very honoured. Let us work, learn, and live together!”.
The message speaks for itself about the global mission to eradicate Congenital Heart Disease from this world.
What an Achievement!
While delivering the Chief guest’s speech, the Hon. PM of Fiji became emotional as he shared a story of a child’s open heart surgery experience.
PM Rabuka congratulated the hospital for its humanitarian task, which is a blessing for many families; thousands of families are grateful to the hospital for conducting 100 free heart surgeries; 25,000 mothers were served and 10,000 heart surgeries screening were performed.
“What an Achievement!” were the words expressed by the Hon. Rabuka.
I applaud the Gift of life work that made humanity proud for their charitable work. Hoping these efforts will bring more smiles to the ones who need the most not just in the Pacific Islands but across the globe.
Disclaimer: Dr Sakul Kundra is Associate Dean (Research) and Assistant Professor at the College of Humanities and Education at Fiji National University (FNU). The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper or his employer. Email firstname.lastname@example.org