Leading UK charity, Muntada Aid announces its flagship project, Little Hearts, is travelling to Dhaka in Bangladesh to help children with heart defects. The Little Hearts team of doctors, nurses and medical professionals aim to carry out 50 vital heart procedures from 10th – 17th December at the Ibrahim Cardiac Hospital and Dhaka Shishu Hospital.
The charity has previously supported four Little Hearts missions to Bangladesh since 2014 and conducted a total of 275 lifesaving operations on children across the country and has also been running a permanent cardiac programme there since 2017, which has facilitated an additional 466 operations.
Congenital heart disease affects people in poor countries more than in wealthier nations and requires expensive treatment from highly skilled and specially trained teams of surgeons. It affects about nine in every 1,000 babies born in Britain whereas in Dhaka, Bangladesh, about 25 in every 1,000 babies born have heart defects. The country has a population of 156 million people and there are only a handful of surgeons with the skills to perform these life-saving operations, especially on very young children and babies.
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 45 missions in 13 countries and performed over 2,800 cardiac interventions and surgeries saving thousands of lives.
Kabir Miah, Little Hearts Programmes Manager at Muntada Aid, commented, “Every mission our Little Hearts team delivers gives vital medical support to so many children in countries where there simply isn’t the infrastructure to perform these complex operations.
For each deployment, we arrange a team of diverse volunteer medical professionals from various parts of the world along with shipping medical supplies, but every mission saves lives which is why we will continue to deliver as many as possible throughout the year.
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.