UK charity, Muntada Aid has confirmed its flagship project, Little Hearts, is in Libya this month to help children with heart defects. It is the fourth time the Little Hearts team has visited Libya and in the three previous trips, the project has treated 153 children for various congenital heart defects.
Little Hearts is Muntada Aid’s flagship project and was launched in April 2012. The charity provides free life-saving heart surgeries to children with congenital heart defects from underprivileged backgrounds irrespective of gender, race or religion. Since 2012, it has carried out over 40 missions in 12 countries and performed over 2,500 cardiac interventions and surgeries saving thousands of lives.
The charity has assembled a team of volunteer doctors, nurses and other medical professionals from Turkey and Egypt for this mission who arrived in Libya over the weekend. They will be operating on children until the 23rd of December and aims to treat a minimum of 40 children over 5 days.
Libya remains one of the most complex and dangerous countries for travel. This North African country remains cut off from most of the world, with barely any international flights into the country and the upcoming Little Hearts mission will take place at Al Bayda Medical Centre in Al Bayda, Eastern Libya.
Kabir Miah, Little Hearts Programmes Manager at Muntada Aid, told Charity Today:
“The hospital has a long waiting list of children suffering from congenital heart defects as there are no specialist interventional cardiologists in Al Bayda who can provide the necessary treatment.
“Taking missions of this nature into Libya is hugely cumbersome and risky. For each such deployment, our programmes department must arrange a team of diverse volunteer medical professionals from various parts of the world. We also need to ship medical supplies into the country. Such missions are tricky even under normal circumstances, and when you add armed conflict and political instability into the mix, it’s a different ball game altogether. But as always we remain committed to our mission.”
An estimated 1. 5 million children are each year born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) globally. 10% of babies born with CHD do not survive their first year of life. 1000s more die and don’t reach adulthood. In poor underdeveloped countries, the lack of specialised medical infrastructure means babies born with congenital heart defects have little or no access to necessary treatment.