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The Gift of Life Project with the Sai Prema Foundation has completed 71 successful heart surgeries, saving the lives of children who now have a better chance of living normal lives again!

The Guest of Honour at the function was the Minister of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Ifiremi Waqainabete who acknowledged the Foundation by highlighting that one of the biggest contributions made by the Foundation has been in helping these children receive a new life by providing free lifesaving heart surgeries.

“This has saved an estimated $7 million for families, more importantly, saving lives of precious children and giving them a future they deserve,” Dr Waqainabete said.

Researches have established that approximately one million children are born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) each year globally. With timely treatment, 85 percent of these children can survive into adulthood to live healthy, productive lives. “Unfortunately, 90 percent of children born with this disease live in poor regions with little or no access at all to care and this is leading the top five causes of death globally,” Dr Waqainabete said.

The Foundation is committed to opening South Pacific’s first free Children’s Heart Hospital in Suva, on April 27, 2020. People have, time and again, posed the question to Sai Prema Foundation Director, Sumeet Tappoo, as to why the rush in building the new Children’s Heart Hospital. And his answer has always been “the heart is a ticking time bomb”.

“Our contractor had asked me if we could delay the opening of the new Children’s Hospital from April to November. I said no – because a child is waiting to be operated on and if it was your child, you would not waste one minute,” Mr Tappoo said that the new hospital was for the children in Fiji and the Pacific Region. “This is going to save lives. And this is what the Foundation is all about, making a real difference in our communities.”

Mr Tappoo said many of the families who attended the celebrations had wonderful stories to tell. “This is what keeps us going forward, driving and charging forward with exceptional results. And we are doing everything we can,” he said.

The function was attended by other guests of honour like the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Ms Bernadette Welsh as well as the High Commissioners of New Zealand and USA. Families of children who underwent free heart surgeries over the past three years were part of the celebration and had only words of gratitude towards Sai Prema Foundation!

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