China's B&R fund helps Afghan children with heart diseases

Updated 2017-09-07 17:00:37 Xinhua

Seventeen children from Afghanistan who suffer from heart conditions have been treated by Chinese doctors in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Twenty-one children, who were born with congenital heart diseases, arrived at Urumqi on Aug. 30, accompanied by their guardians.

Their travel and medical costs were covered by the Belt and Road Fraternity Fund, which was set up in February this year by the Chinese Red Cross Foundation (CRCF).

The children, aged between two and 16 years old, underwent medical examinations at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University.

Four children returned to Afghanistan because it was too risky for them to have the operations, said Ma Songfeng, director of the children's cardiac department.

A team of 11 experts from the Xinjiang hospital, along with experts from Beijing Chaoyang Hospital and Beijing Friendship Hospital, led the operations on the 17 children starting September 1.

"These children's hearts and overall health conditions are rather complicated, so we carefully made plans for each and every child," said Ma.

"I tell myself that the surgeries must succeed, so I was present at each operation on the children," said Ma, lead doctor for the aid mission.

"Their conditions remain stable and they are recovering," said Ma.

The patients will be able to leave the hospital once they have fully recovered, he said.

"Considering some children suffered malnutrition and may not be accustomed to the Chinese diet, we discussed with their families while preparing their food," he said.

Ma said Chinese children usually drink rice porridge after operation, but children from Afghanistan may not like the porridge, so nurses prepared vanilla soup for them.

On Wednesday, Afghan Finance Minister Eklil Ahmad Hakimi visited the wards and expressed thanks to the medical staff of the hospital.

The children are the first group to receive treatment under a humanitarian aid plan by the Belt and Road Fraternity Fund (B&R Fraternity Fund).

The Red Cross society said it plans to provide free treatment to 100 patients who suffer congenital heart diseases. They will receive free treatment in China.

A second group of patients is being selected in Mongolia.

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