Cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, who has 34 Test centuries under his belt, announced on Thursday that he would be sponsoring an equal number of heart surgeries for children from economically weaker sections of society.
Mr. Gavaskar made the commitment after opening Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani International Centre for Child Heart Care at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai. The hospital will be the first heart care centre to provide free medical treatment in the west zone. The hospital’s other centres are located in Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh and Palwal in Haryana. The two centres have completed 78,000 patient consultations, 6,771 child heart surgeries, 1,834 paediatric cardiac catheter interventions, and 71,000 child health screenings. By policy, the hospital does not have a cash counter.
The new centre will treat children with congenital heart disease and support and train healthcare workers and anganwadi sevikas in basic paediatric cardiac detection and treatment. C. Sreenivas, chairman of the hospital, said: “Each year, 2.4 lakh children are born with congenital heart disease in India. Of these, about 40% die before their third birthday.” A hospital spokesperson said 250 children will undergo surgeries and 3,000 will undergo screening at the hospital this month.
Mr. Gavaskar said, “Paediatric cardiac treatment should be within the reach of every child and every parent irrespective of their financial or social status. I am pleased that Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani is now open in Navi Mumbai and will provide lifesaving service to the people.”
Arvind Thiagarajan, the founder of HD Medical Inc. and inventor of HD Steth, said, “We are sure that our easy-to-use, instant diagnostic technique, which uses AI, will help detect congenital heart disease at a very early stage. Children can then be operated before complications sets in.” Mr. Thiagarajan said the HD Steth is an ECG integrated intelligent stethoscope and uses artificial intelligence to diagnose children with heart problems through an app on a smartphone.
The State government and Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital had earlier signed an MoU to help children suffering from congenital heart disease. The registration of children at the hospital began in December 2018.