Thai-Laos project to save young
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Thai-Laos project to save young

30 kids get free heart surgeries

Dr Chanchai Sittipunt, third from right, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital, elaborates on the project. (Photo supplied)
Dr Chanchai Sittipunt, third from right, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital, elaborates on the project. (Photo supplied)

Thailand and Laos have come together on a medical initiative aimed at saving young lives from heart-related diseases. As a result, some 30 children have undergone successful heart surgeries in Thailand as part of this joint effort.

Dubbed "Saving Young's Heart Crossing Mekong River," the project is a joint effort between the Thai Red Cross, Chulalongkorn Hospital, Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation, the Thai embassy to Laos, Laos' Public Health Ministry, and Mahosot Centre Hospital.

Dr Chanchai Sittipunt, director of Chulalongkorn Hospital, said the project was initiated last year after his pediatric intensive-care staff learnt that Mahosot Centre Hospital in Laos was the only hospital in the country able to perform heart surgery on patients and was in need of more specialists to handle heart disease in children.

Under the project, young patients with heart disease in Laos will be transferred to hospitals in Thailand for free medical treatment.

Assistance in medical coaching and scholarships for paediatric intensive care training are also offered by Chulalongkorn Hospital and Chulalongkorn University's School of Global Health, aiming to improve Laos' capability in providing pediatric heart surgery within five years, Dr Chanchai said.

The five-year project kicked off in May last year with the screening of 92 cases of young patients aged from three months to 12 years old with congenital heart disease.

It found 37 of them were in need of urgent surgery in Thailand, said Dr Pirapat Mokarapong, secretary-general of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Foundation.

So far, 29 children and babies have been transferred to Bangkok and had successful operations.

Two serious cases were handled at Chulalongkorn Hospital and 27 other cases by Kasemrad Hospital.

The latest success story was a 9-month-old boy diagnosed with an alternating coronary artery and suffering from cyanosis due to heart failure.

He was transferred to Bangkok for an urgent operation at Chulalongkorn Hospital three months ago weighing only three kilogrammes.

The surgery was a success and the boy, who is now one year old, left for his Luang Phrabang hometown on Thursday.

His journey back home was accompanied by a medical team from Chulalongkorn Hospital.

The boy's parents expressed their gratitude, heartfeltly thanking the project and Thailand for giving their son his life back.

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