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Saving children in times of Covid-19

Saving children in times of Covid-19

Across the world, healthcare systems are busy containing the spread of coronavirus even as a 'Second Tragedy' unfolds simultaneously. There are patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses who need urgent care. One of these is the Congenital Heart Disease, a common birth defect among new borns in India.

However, institutions led by Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals across the country decided to operate upon children even during Covid-19 times. Hospitals of the Sathya Sai Sanjeevani – in Nava Raipur, Chattisgarh, Palwal, Haryana and Kharghar Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, opened doors for the children.

In a well thought out plan, and evidence-based strategy to protect both staff and patients, our hospitals provided critical Pediatric Cardiac Surgical services at Sanjeevani Hospitals. We used innovative ways to deal with lockdown issues and limited availability of consumables due to disruption in global supply chains. Despite the peril, several parents from all over the country braved danger and started queuing up at Sanjeevani Hospitals.

Devanand Bharati, a labourer from Kharora, Hattiesburg, Chhattisgarh, came with his 3.5 kg son Tanmay who had obstructed TAPVC, an emergency case. The little warrior sailed through his surgery and was back in his mother’s arms five days later.

Similarly, Rashmi & Deepak Marachini a labourer couple from Dibrugarh, Assam, were determined not to go back to Assam unless their little son Piyush was operated upon. He underwent a successful repair of tetralogy of fallot and the family is back in their home state Assam.

In another success story, little Mitansh, son of a fisherman from Alibaug, found his life gifted in Sanjeevani Navi Mumbai hospital after surgery for congenital heart disease.

In the Sanjeevani Pediatric Cath Lab, children as young as 2-3 months weighing less than four kgs were successfully treated for obstruction in their heart valves – both the right sided pulmonary valve and the aortic valve. Close to 200 critically ill children were successfully operated on and lives saved, while over 750 patients from various states were treated during this pandemic. The numbers are only growing.

Sanjeevani’s community outreach arm reached out to vulnerable pregnant women through tele-consultation and were provided much needed medical and psychological support. Medications and ante-natal care along with Sai Sure Nutrition supplements were delivered to them. In badly affected regions like Navi Mumbai, Sanjeevani staff and volunteers delivered food ration to the homes of many pregnant women affected by the lockdown and with no income to buy rations for their families.

Sanjeevani staff members donated blood to patients which was in acute shortage, made face masks and PPE’s for the safety of medical staff and care giving teams. Sanjeevani doctors led mobile government health teams in rural areas of Palwal district of Haryana and provided primary healthcare consultations and medications.

Sathya Sai Sanjeevani's medical warriors saved hundreds of children from heart ailments as well as provided help to pregnant women at a time of unprecedented crisis.

<em><strong>The writer is Chairman, <a href="https://srisathyasaisanjeevani.org/">Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals</a></strong></em>.