Save a Child’s Heart performed 5,000th operation

May 23, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Save a Child’s Heart the NGO’s doctors have performed a life-saving procedure on a child for the 5,000th time. The one-year-old patient from Zanzibar was flown to Israel for critical surgery.

Niyas from Syria Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

The Save a Child’s Heart medical team conducts annual missions around the world to examine and diagnose children in need. The NGO has successfully treated 5,000 children from 59 countries including more than 2,500 Palestinian patients from the West Bank and Gaza. All Save a Child’s Heart medical services are performed free of cost to patients and their families.


The 5,000th patient, Fatma, travelled to Israel with a group of twelve children, eight mothers and two nurses from Zanzibar. Each of the children has a serious heart defect and will undergo urgent lifesaving procedures at the Wolfson Medical Center.

“There is nothing more gratifying than being part of saving a life,” said Dr Lior Sasson, Save a Child’s Heart Lead Surgeon at Wolfson Medical centre. “To be able to put aside politics and help a human being in need—a child, is the miracle the doctors at Save a Child’s Heart perform every day.”

As a child, Fatma’s mother suffered from the same congenital heart defect as Fatma and was saved by Save a Child’s Heart doctors twenty years ago. She made a full recovery and returned to Zanzibar where she grew up, married and gave birth to Fatma. Fatma was hospitalized many times as an infant and diagnosed with congenital heart disease, but medical teams in Zanzibar were unable to provide the lifesaving surgery she required.

“I never thought I would make the journey from Africa to Israel again,” said Balkis, Fatma’s mother. “I already owe my life to this incredible NGO and now that they have saved my baby, I owe them my happiness as well. We are going back to Zanzibar soon, but a piece of our hearts will always stay in Israel.”

Fatma and her mother will remain at the Save a Child’s Heart children’s home for several weeks while Fatma recovers. They are joined there by more than 30 other children from Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Iraq, Gaza and the West Bank who received urgent heart surgery by Save a Child’s Heart.

The 5,000th Save a Child’s Heart surgery was funded by donors from Canada.

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