Pakistan Children’s Heart Foundation (PCHF) – A New Hope for Children’s Heart Surgery in Lahore
PCHF has been helping deserving and needful children with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) since 2011. As of 31st December 2020, the PCHF has successfully provided financial and medical support to 2221 children and their families at a total cost of 808 million PKR. In the journey to fight CHD, PCHF is currently building a state-of-the-art medical facility that provides the highest quality of care for children with heart disease, irrespective of their financial means. This will be Pakistan’s first dedicated Children’s Heart Hospital and Research Institute, CHHRI, and will act as a model institute for training healthcare professionals, educating the general public at large and promoting research into the causes and management of CHD.
There are some staggering facts and stats worth sharing. According to current research by the Pakistan Paediatric Cardiac Society, 1 out of 100 children born in Pakistan have CHD. Annually, this amounts to around 50,000 children and there are less than 4000 surgeries being done, with each costing 450,000-550,000 PKR. Lack of facilities, a dearth of pediatric cardiologists and surgeons are the main contributing factors.
Along with Project CHHRI, PCHF under Project Mohsin is working tirelessly to make sure children with CHD are able to get the treatment they desperately need. Most of these children are unable to fight this disease because of the high costs involved. PCHF has built partnerships with different hospitals and institutions around the country, which includes a PCHF Child Heart Centre at the University of Lahore Teaching Hospital (ULTH). The setup for children’s cardiac surgeries at ULTH is operated by the PCHF medical officers and nurses. This centre is one of only three centres in Pakistan to be recognized by the International Quality Improvement Collaborative (IQIC) for Congenital Heart Diseases. IQIC provides benchmarking data for healthcare professionals and guides quality improvement efforts.
These partnerships also include getting surgeries done at Ittefaq Hospital Trust (IHT) for PCHF sponsored patients at a discounted rate. The same Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has also been signed with hospitals such as Hameed Latif Hospital in Lahore, Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Rehman Medical Institute in Peshawar and Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. Transparent Hands, a fellow NGO committed to the cause, also financially sponsors 50% of the cost of treatment of patients referred to them by PCHF.
PCHF also offers free Outpatient Department (OPD) services for all their patients. This includes free pre-operative and post-operative echocardiography tests along with cardiology consultation. The aim of all this is to provide improved access to quality healthcare services for children all over the country, especially Lahore.