Brave six-year-old Chenille Nimrod underwent life-saving heart surgery earlier this month after waiting for more than three years.
Chenille was born in the Eastern Cape, where she was one of 200 children on the heart treatment waiting list of the provincial government.
“I am so happy and grateful that my child has finally received the surgery we have been waiting for since 2018. She is doing well and looks healthier,” said mom, Natasha Nimrod.
“I would like to thank everyone who made this surgery possible and everyone who made it a success.”
It is estimated that 1 out of every 1 000 babies is born with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and that every six hours a newborn is added to the waiting list of those in need of surgery and/or treatment.
The successful operation was made possible through a partnership between Pelo Foundation and the Busamed Hospital Group.
Chenille was Pelo Foundation’s first beneficiary. She underwent life-changing surgery to repair the hole in her heart early this month.
Pelo Foundation is a non-profit company that raises awareness and funds for children with CHD to receive treatment.
Dr. Michael Janson from Busamed Hospital in Paardevlei who was part of the team that performed the surgery said: “I am very pleased that we have managed to successfully conduct the surgery since it was the first child to be operated on under this project.
“Our aim is to assist as many children as we can – should we immediately get the financial injection needed.
“Normally children can be on the waiting list for about two years. I hope that there will be many entities that will come up and collaborate so that we may assist in saving more lives.”
CHD is the most common type of birth defect and the leading cause of infant deaths in the world.
Due to the burden of the disease in South Africa and the magnitude of the problem, Pelo Foundation is raising awareness concerning the plight of children in need of CHD treatment and intervention.
Data also shows that 1 to 2 children die each week.
There are five other children from the Eastern Cape who are in dire need of medical intervention.
These children include a seven-year-old boy from Mdantsane who was born with severe left pulmonary artery stenosis and a 6-year-old from Bloemendal diagnosed with PmVSD.
The ailing boy has been on the waiting list for seven years.
Also on the list is an 11-month-old baby boy from Uitenhage, KwaNobuhle. The baby boy was born with Down Syndrome.
The waiting list includes a four-month-old from Sidwell, whose complications include failure to thrive, recurrent respiratory tract infections due to pulmonary congestion, and a 20-month-old child desperately in need of heart treatment.
“If these children, all born with severe heart conditions, do not receive immediate medical intervention, they could suffer further health complications or may even die,” warns Pelo Foundation.