In developing countries, congenital heart defects (CHDs) continue to be one of the leading factors of childhood mortality. Many infants born with CHDs can expect living close to normal lives thanks to advancements in diagnostic tools and treatment options. However, a significant portion of infants with congenital cardiac abnormalities in developing nations lack access to quality healthcare. Numerous factors contribute to this, including a lack of knowledge that delays diagnosis, a lack of infrastructure for high-quality pediatric cardiac care, and insufficient funding. Children’s Healthcare Foundations and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in pediatric heart care have been playing an essential role in this field.
Children’s Healthcare Foundations that work with children who have CHDs have been taking the lead in raising awareness at the grassroot level, supporting families of children with CHDs and directing them to the appropriate facilities and medical professionals, as well as providing financial support. To be able to raise the money necessary to meet these goals, they in turn depend on corporate charity donations, private donations, gifts from foundations, and the support of other strategic partners.
Children’s Healthcare Foundations and other NGOs working in heart care for children have been working in the following areas, especially in developing countries:
Timely Diagnosis: Despite advancements in prenatal screenings, the majority of CHDs are still not identified at this time. Many births still happen at home, despite the fact that the number of institutional deliveries has been rising as a result of the excellent work being done by children’s health care foundations partnering with the government. Even for births that occur in district hospitals, CHD screening is occasionally not done. This is a result of the treating physicians’ and front-line staff members’ insufficient knowledge of recent developments in diagnosis. Children’s Healthcare Foundations have been playing a significant role in this situation by increasing local knowledge among both the local populace and the front-line staff.
Connecting to Pediatric cardiac specialists and centers: Pediatric cardiac centres are still few and far between in medical facilities, particularly in developing nations. The link between families of children with CHD and the appropriate hospitals and pediatric cardiologists who can treat the children has been made possible in large part by representatives of children’s healthcare foundations and NGOs specialising in heart care for children.
Financial Support: A sizable portion of the population in developing nations continues to lack access to treatment for congenital heart abnormalities. There is hardly any medical insurance. A lot of hospitals are working with foundations for pediatric healthcare to raise money to cover the cost of the procedures. NGOs providing pediatric cardiac care also raise money through corporate charity donations and other sources to support families in need.
Follow-ups and emotional support: It’s crucial for kids who have had CHD treatment to have regular follow-ups. Again, children’s healthcare foundations are crucial in this situation because they act as a liaison between the family and the hospitals to make sure that follow-up appointments are made on time and that the child gradually resumes leading a normal life. It is also incredibly challenging emotionally to parent a child with CHDs. When families also struggle financially to pay for their child’s medical care, this problem is exacerbated. The guidance, support, calming of parents’ anxieties and concerns, and counselling provided by children’s healthcare foundations is crucial in helping parents achieve the greatest results for their children.
In the developing countries, children’s healthcare foundations need to play a more proactive role in fighting the burden of diseases such as congenital heart defects. In India there a few NGOS that are working in heart care with children but these are not many. And for all these organizations to do what they are ding they need more support from the community at large, the government, corporate charity donations, foundations and other stakeholders.
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Elshazali, O., Ibrahim, M., Elseed, A., 2022, ‘Management of Congenital Heart Disease in Low-Income Countries: The Challenges and the Way Forward’, in P. S. Rao (ed.), Congenital Heart Defects – Recent Advances, IntechOpen, London. 10.5772/intechopen.104830.