March 2018

SriLankan Cares joins hands with 'Little Hearts'
March 2018

SriLankan Cares, the community welfare arm of the National Carrier has come forward to support the ‘Little Hearts' project initiated to provide timely as well as an appropriate treatment to all new-born babies and children in Sri Lanka with heart disease and other critical illnesses.

Steered by the Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, the Project is aimed at establishing a dedicated Cardiac and Critical Care Complex at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital (LRH) and maintaining it as the tertiary care referral centre for children with heart disease and critical illnesses.

Sri Lanka has achieved excellent figures in childhood mortality reduction through proper management of malnutrition, respiratory diseases and diarrhoeal illnesses. The current infant mortality rate in Sri Lanka is eight per 1,000 live births. As we have 370,000 live births per year in Sri Lanka, it is estimated that approximately 3,000 children die before reaching their first birthday every year. A majority succumb due to a heart disease or a severe acute illness. Most of these deaths can be prevented if we have cardiac surgical and intensive care facilities for timely intervention.

Heart disease is a major contributor to childhood mortality in Sri Lanka. It is estimated that approximately 3,000 children are born with heart disease in Sri Lanka every year. These numbers tally with data from the Cardiology Unit at LRH. Currently, 900 cardiac surgical procedures and 600 cardiac catheter interventions are performed annually. Children who are not treated are added to the already long waiting lists and will succumb to their illness due to lack of facilities for treatment. Most of the children with heart disease require surgery only once in their lifetime. Once treated, many lead a normal life. If their cardiac lesion is not corrected at the appropriate age, they will have repeated admissions to hospitals.

Facilities to treat critically ill children and new-born babies in the country have been scarce. Thus, a significant number of children born with congenital and acquired heart disease die due to lack of surgical facilities. New-borns and children with other critical illnesses succumb to their illnesses due to lack of intensive care facilities.

'Little Hearts' invites generous contributors to make the project a reality through donations. Help save a child, preserve future!