x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sudanese children grateful to UAE from the bottom of their hearts

The Nabadat initiative was launched in 2007 to offer free heart operations to those who either cannot afford them, or who lack access to treatment.

DUBAI // Seven Sudanese children born with congenital heart defects have received free life-saving operations thanks to a week-long Dubai initiative.

A team of seven heart surgeons and nurses from Nabadat, which means heartbeat, together with another seven-strong team from a specialised hospital in Saudi Arabia, travelled on Friday to operate on 50 children at the mission at Wad Medani hospital, 200 kilometres from the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

According to ambassador Mohammed Al Hassan Ibrahim, the Sudanese consul general in Dubai, the teams completed seven operations on Saturday. The children operated on ranged in age from four months to 16 years and all are to return home to their families today.

"All the operations conducted by the team at Wad Medani hospital were successful," Mr Ibrahim said yesterday.

He said the operations had been arranged with Sudanese charity Sanad Foundation, which has already coordinated 100 surgeries for children in Sudan this year.

"The Mohammed bin Rashid Foundation, Dubai Health Authority and Sanad have coordinated well and have two operating rooms set up with all the required facilities for the screened cases," Mr Ibrahim said.

"This is our first international mission and one of many," said Dr Obaid Al Jassim, a consultant cardiac surgeon and head of the cardiothoracic surgery department at Dubai Hospital.

He said the goal of the initiative was to help as many children with congenital heart diseases in the world as possible and to make them happy and healthy "because these children, they are the future of any country".

Mr Ibrahim thanked the DHA for its initiative and commended its actions to save Sudanese children.

"This is not the first activity conducted by the authorities in the UAE," he said. "Many healthcare, environment and humanitarian activities have been conducted successfully in Sudan and we would like to extend our appreciation to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and the Government of the UAE."

The Nabadat initiative was launched in 2007 to offer free heart operations to those who either cannot afford them, or who lack access to treatment and has already helped more than 300 children.

amustafa@thenational.ae