Over 25 children are expected to undergo heart surgery at the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital Fiji.
The operations are being carried out by a team of visiting cardiac surgeons from Singapore.
Paediatrician Dr Ryan Taylor says it is important to get children screened to be able to detect early whether they may have heart defects.
The major symptoms Dr Taylor says are usually when babies struggle with their usual activities.
“Things like poor weight gain, breathing hard especially when they are in the newborn period or just after. If they’re breathing hard, especially while feeding because the heart is something when we exercise it should pump faster so when there’s a hole in it or if it’s not functioning so well, all babies do is eat sleep and poop, right. So when they’re doing their normal activities they may struggle.”
The Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Screening Centre is the first Children’s Heart Screening Centre in all of South Pacific. The centre houses the latest-in-technology 4D echocardiogram machine donated by philanthropists from New Zealand.
The Centre does not have a billing counter and all screenings are provided totally free of charge.