NRIS Pitch in to Treat Kids with Heart Ailments

The Hindu Business Line (Internet Edition), Hyderabad, June 6, 2005.
K.V. Kurmanath
COME June 18, a large gathering of expatriates from India, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, would be gathering at Hotel Hilton Irvine, Orange country, in California to raise funds to treat children suffering from heart diseases in their native country. Worried over reports that about two lakh children are born every year in India with heart diseases, a group of NRIs in the US, mostly doctors and software professionals, have set up `Cure a Little Heart Foundation’.

Back in India, friends of these NRIs have formed `Hrudaya Foundation’. This list includes leaders from corporate houses such as Karvy Consultants, Ocean Sparkle Ltd and Genova Biotechnics. The NRIs and their friends in India have centered their activity around Dr. Gopichand Mannam, a well-known cardio thoracic surgeon at Care Hospitals in Hyderabad.

“The idea is to mobilise funds that can be utilised to attend to the heart problems of these helpless children,” Dr. Gopichand Mannam told Business Line.

Dr. Gopichand, who is already championing the cause of children suffering from congenital and acquired heart diseases, says the two foundations aim to come to the rescue of these children.

“We are confident of raising $2,50,000 on June 18,” Dr. Gopichand Mannam says.

He adds that the two trusts strive to evolve a sustainable fund to help more and more patients in the long run. “The problem is huge. The Governments cannot handle this kind of problem,” he pointed out. Majority of the children afflicted with heart diseases die not because of ignorance but because of lack of access to quality healthcare services. Joining him in the activity are, Mr. M. Yugandhar, Managing Director of Karvy Consultants, Mr. P. Jairaj Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director of Ocean Sparkle Ltd, and Dr. Mitra P., Chairman and Managing Director of Genova Biotechnics.

Dr. Gopichand, along with Mr. Jairaj Kumar and Mr. Yugandhar, would leave for the US next week to promote the idea.

“On an average, a heart intervention costs around Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1 lakh. We, doctors, charge no fees, while the hospital provides subsidized services,” he said. “We see 50 patients a month, who need operation, at this hospital,” he said. Initially, the trust will channelise the funds mobilised by their US friends. In the long term, the two trusts plan to create a good track record. “With that track record, we will approach more corporates, charities, organisations and individuals.” Dr. Gopichand Mannam said.

In the last 11 months, Care has performed 400 surgeries on children free of cost. The NRI doctor’s support is beyond pecuniary. “When they come to India on vacation and other trips, they would visit the hospital and help the staff update themselves on relevant topics,” Dr. Gopichand Mannam said.