A breath-taking reality

[wp_ad_camp_1] A breath-taking reality

60,000 Pakistani kids are born with heart diseases each year

By Zaib Azkaar Hussain


A breath-taking fact was brought to light by Prof. Najma Patel, Head of Paediatric Cardiology, National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), and Convener of the committee member of Collage of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan as she says that 60,000 Pakistani kids are born with heart diseases each year.  

She expressed her views at the 50th public awareness seminar on “Status of Paediatric Cardiology in Pakistan” held at the seminar room of Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi on Wednesday.

She clearly observed that “About 60,000 Pakistani children are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) every year. Around 25 per cent children, affected with the problem, need surgery or intervention in early life to survive. There is not a single health facility in Balochistan to treat CHD like health problems.”

According to the Media Advisor concerned, the Dr. Panjwani Center and the Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) jointly organised the seminar.

Prof Najma Patel said that paediatric cardiology was a very extensive and highly specialized field dealt patients with congenital or acquired cardiac and cardiovascular abnormalities of all ages from foetus to old age. She argued that care of patients with these diseases not only required paediatric cardiologist but included congenital cardiac surgeon, intensivist and others.


Talking about prevalence of the disease, she stated that about 60,000 Pakistani children were born with CHD every year, while about 30,000 Pakistani children were diagnosed with some acquired heart disease like rheumatic heart disease, myocarditis etc. She added that acquired heart disease developed after birth and was less common in children than adults.

In Pakistan, about 35000 were going to be proved with paediatric cardiology facilities each year, while others were not diagnosed and many of them died without diagnosis even in good hospitals, she lamented, and added that there was a problem of diagnosis and early detection of the disease.

Significant numbers of these were those who could be treated if diagnosed timely, around 25 per cent children needed surgery or intervention in early life to survive, she said and added that even if diagnosed, facilities were out of reach.

Around 100,000 CHD cases were registered only in NICVD in 2018, which shows the disease prevalence in the country.

She pointed out that the poor health care system and lack of awareness were also adding the problem. Besides the shortage of facilities and less available facilities were a great hurdle in treating the patients properly, she concluded.

She pointed out that as compared to other provinces there was not a single health facility in Balochistan to treat CHD like health problems.

Describing the NICVD, she said that NICVD was the first Institute of Pakistan to provide Paediatric Cardiology services, where surgeries for CHD were being performed since 1974.

She underlined that according to international minimum requirement, at least 250 paediatric cardiologists and 150 paediatric cardiac surgeons were needed but the NICVD had only 35 paediatric cardiologists and 16 paediatric cardiac surgeons.

She contended that there was a need to perform 22000 surgeries each year but at present only 4000 surgeries were being performed every year.Yet, she added that the the surgeons and the cardiologists were performing all the procedures that are being performed in the developed world.

The question is that who would take up the issue of kids born born with heart diseases in Pakistan and when would be taken the matter seriously. The government must pay full attention to the issue of the children born with the heart diseases without further delay and also provide due health facilities to the people of Balochistan on priority basis.



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