A five-year-old Marshallese child has been accepted for heart surgery in Israel, and an infant with congenital heart problems is under consideration.
This is the result of the recent visit to Majuro by Dr. Zehavit Zivner, who made the connection between the Majuro hospital and the Israel-based non-profit group, Save a Child’s Heart. The organization provides heart surgery and treatment for children from countries that do not have these services.
Zivner, who is from Israel, was reviewing Majuro hospital systems.
Majuro hospital pediatricians Dr. Mary Jane Gancio and Dr. Manasa Baleinamau identified two children — one a five-month-old infant, the other five years old — who both had congenital heart problems, recommending them for off-island surgery.
The Marshall Islands is the second Pacific nation after Fiji to gain support of the Save a Child’s Heart organization. The services are provided at no cost to the Ministry of Health.
Over its 22-year life, the Israeli organization has performed heart surgeries for over 4,700 children from 15 nations, said Zivner.
“The only challenge for the Marshall Islands is the long travel time to Israel,” she said.
“This is a good opportunity open to us,” said Health Secretary Julia Alfred, adding it was important for the ministry to have different options for treatment of children with heart problems.
Gancio said pediatricians at the hospital may identify up to 10 children annually with congenital heart problems. “We have the capacity to detect heart problems right after birth,” she said. Most of the children identified with heart problems are currently sent to the Philippines for heart surgery.
Read more about this in the August 24, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.