Children of Fiji and the Pacific will no longer have to pay for expensive heart surgery as the AU$16 million Sanjeevani Children’s hospital was officially opened in Suva.
The hospital has no billing counter which means all services to the children will be at no cost.
The project is headed by charity organisation Sai Prema Foundation who have funded the hospital themselves including all brand new state of the art equipment.
Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama was joined virtually by his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in opening the hospital.
“In 2016, the Sai Prema Foundation asked my Government for the piece of land on which we gather here today. Presented with the facts and noble intention of this project, my Government facilitated that requirement,” said Mr Bainimarama.
“Approximately 200 children are born in Fiji every year with Congenital Heart Disease.
“If we consider the entire Pacific region, that number skyrockets to 2,500 children. The devastating reality is that most of these precious children do not reach adulthood.
“Without access to surgical intervention, most are doomed to live very short lives of immense suffering. They will leave behind grief-stricken parents, families and communities, and emotional scars that will last a lifetime.”
The hospital will provide expert care from a team of paediatric cardiac specialists and surgeons, and other medical professionals.
The Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital will start operating from Monday. It boasts a state-of-the-art cath lab, operating theatre, intensive care unit, and pre-operative and post-operative wards.
The Sanjeevani Children’s Heart Hospital also includes a training centre with technological capabilities for international video conferencing.
The people behind the hospital and the Sai Prema Foundation are the Tappoo family. The Fijian business tycoons realised that young lives were lost in Fiji because there were no pediatric cardiac services available in the country, or any other South Pacific Island nation.
Prior to the hospital opening its doors, the Sai Prema Foundation helped organise the Gift of Life program where 17 young children were operated on by cardiac experts from the world.
The foundation funded these trips and worked with the Fijian Ministry of Health to ensure surgeries worth AU$1.1 million were afforded to children whose parents had no other choice but to go without it, because they could not afford it.