Saving Little Hearts – Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan

The Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan, in collaboration with Gift of Life International and Gift of Life Sri Lanka, facilitated surgery for a total of 50 Sri Lankan children with congenital heart disease. The patients were successfully operated on and have since returned home to their families with the hope of a happy and healthy future.
The project was made possible through the main collaboration between Gift of Life International and Gift of Life Sri Lanka, the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan, District 3220, Rotary Newton, District 7475, and independent donor Herz Bewegt, enabling these children to access this life-saving surgery if needed.

Speaking to Dinali Dandeniya, former president of the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan and current district secretary of District 3220, who led the project, she explained that it was an incredibly personal cause for her because she also suffered from congenital heart disease as a child. , and she feels deeply touched by these children who could not have access to the medical care which has been so fortunately offered to her. Being born in the UK, she had free access to the life-saving surgery she needed – and now the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan is able to do the same for some of these children.

Dandeniya said this Rotary Foundation-approved global grant was a much-needed relief to address Sri Lanka’s lack of resources due to the large number of children with congenital heart disease. In addition, the grant was subsequently awarded to 50 Sri Lankan children who were on the long waiting list at Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Colombo.

She explained that due to the backlog of patients waiting for surgery at Lady Ridgeway Hospital, many of these children are having to wait too long to access the surgery they need. She added that if patients reach adulthood without treating the disease at an early stage, it could potentially become a much more serious and sometimes fatal disease.

These children will be treated by local health professionals at three private hospitals – Nawaloka Hospital, Asiri Hospital and Lanka Hospital in Colombo – at a pre-negotiated amount, and the doctors who would attend the surgeries are the same. who would otherwise have handled the matter through the government institution. Lady Ridgeway Hospital worked with the three partner hospitals to recommend and select 50 pediatric patients for pediatric heart surgery. Lady Ridgeway Hospital also provided follow-up care to each patient after the operation to ensure they are on the path to a comfortable recovery.

Lady Ridgeway Hospital has referred patients for treatment under the four cardiothoracic surgeons who work at the hospital, as well as the private hospitals where the surgeries will take place – Dr Kanchana Singappuli, Dr YMK Lahie, Dr P. Rathnayaka and Dr Renuka Kannangara. All surgeries and post-operative care were provided free of charge to families and children in care.

Dandeniya added that Gift of Life Sri Lanka was working directly with each of the four hospitals, visiting children and their families when they were able to collect all data for monitoring and evaluation of the project, including photos of each. child treated. They then provided regular updates on the children treated and the general progress of the grant on a regular basis to all partners.

As per the project, Asiri Surgical Hospital and Nawaloka Hospital performed life-saving heart surgery on 20 children each, while Lanka Hospital performed surgeries on 10 children, with success. Dandeniya said they provide excellent preoperative, surgical, postoperative and follow-up care for each patient.

She also said the Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan did not want this to be a one-off project, sharing that they wanted to lend a hand to the proposed new wing “Little Hearts” at Lady Ridgeway – a wing dedicated to children with congenital heart disease, a project currently underway. The Rotary Club is looking to join the project and help. If you would like to get involved, Dandeniya encourages you to contact us through their many social media channels open to the general public.

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