Before a child hops up on the operating table, they must take their turn on the scale so the anesthesiologist can know the correct dosage to administer so they can sleep safely during their operation. Below are a few of the children who are lining up for their shot at a healed heart.
Come back over the next few days to meet these children and to hear their stories!
Our 85 suture kits are FULLY funded — Thank you for helping fund $765 worth of medical supplies!
Nearly two years ago, we began our first Remedy Mission with the International Children’s Heart Foundation and Living Light International. For us it was a great risk to take. We had only sent children out of the country and, all-in-all, that model was proven. It was safe.
But thanks to your support, we were able to begin training doctors and treating children inside Iraq. And we were able to serve a little girl named Iman (along with 23 other children). Now, just under two years later, here she is:
Iman is from Dohuk where our partner doctor, Dr. Kirk Milhoan, and his team screened newborns for heart defects. Now Iman is happy and healthy, able to enjoy playing games with her friends, learning in school, and spending time with her family.
Safe at last from her childhood disease, Iman’s life is full of potential. Thank you for giving these children a future!
April 24, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
Over the last few months we’ve seen an incredible influx of new readers and supporters, so it seemed good to put our most informative and successful video to-date back on the blog.
Whether you’re brand new or if you’ve been here a hundred times, watch it and let me know your reaction. Is it naive? Spot-on? Over-the-top? Email me!
February 12, 2012 by matt · Comments Off
I was a little worried when Hamma had to be carried from the ICU into the children’s ward. But the doctors said he is doing well and should be able to go home in a few hours. Then, sure enough, he perked up and now he’s walking all over the place!
After a sick heart, a smashed nose, and a surgery, I finally got what seems to be a smile out of this little boy. Isn’t he cute?
And he has reason to smile! His surgery was a complete success, and he is going home. Thank you for making Hamma’s surgery possible, and thank you for putting his best days ahead of him!
Photo credit: AFP
A hospital in Iraq is back up on its feet after years of getting knocked down and now it’s better and bigger than ever!
Rebuilt after many years of violence in Iraq, the Ibn al-Bitar Hospital for Cardiac Surgery in Baghdad is beginning a new program to teach its doctors how to better operate on children who need heart surgery.
“”Until now, we have not been able to conduct heart surgery on infants,’ said Doctor Hussein Ali al-Hilli, director of the Ibn Bitar Hospital for Cardiac Surgery in Baghdad.
‘We receive 80 children a day with various heart-related birth defects that we cannot treat. We need three years to learn because such procedures are complicated,’ he added.”
Want to know more about this amazing project? Check out the full story here and tell us what you think in the comments section below!
Allow me to introduce PLC’s newest video!
If you’re unfamiliar with our work, we consider this our manifesto. Everything we do boils down to this belief: reconciliation happens through healing.
With your help, that which has been destroyed and ‘unmade’ can be rebuilt. It can be healed.
For all you video connoisseurs, what did you think? Give us some feedback in the comments section below, or connect with us on Vimeo.
Yesterday on the drive to southern Iraq we ran over a pothole. Actually, we ran over several potholes.
The biggest pothole of the day – and the same one that made the loudest noise as our van clung to its parts – was the same one that caused my Iraqi friend next to me to groan and say, “I just want to see change. I want to see something different now that the war’s over. Where are the new roads? Where are the signs that Iraq is changing?”
The next pothole we hit launched us both into a conversation attempting to answer that question. It kept us busy for most of the drive, but we kept coming back to the same 3 immediate signs that Iraq is changing for the better.
Sign #1: Right now, families are traveling from all over southern Iraq to come to this Remedy Mission. Before, families were lining up to leave the country trying to find the doctors that could save their children from their heart defects. Today, families are lining up outside a hospital in southern Iraq, waiting for their child’s chance at a lifesaving heart surgery. For the first time, families don’t need to leave the country to find the cure.
Sign #2: This week, a Sunni family will hand their child over to a Shiite doctor to be saved. In 2007, at the height of the violence in Iraq between Sunni and Shiites, this would have been unheard of. Now, the disease that’s threatening their children is bringing them together!
Sign #3: The notorious “brain drain” that happened when 20,000 of the 34,000 registered doctors in Iraq fled during the war is being reversed. During our last Remedy Mission in northern Iraq we met one of the doctors who had returned. Today we’re not only seeing doctors return, but – thanks to Remedy Missions – the doctors who never left are being equipped and trained, too. Their training is changing the tide of healthcare in Iraq.
So, the next time you hear someone looking for a reason to believe Iraq is changing for the better, start by giving them these 3.
Or better yet, show them the above photo of Rayed smiling before he received his lifesaving heart surgery during Remedy Mission V. Then tell them to stay tuned because Remedy Mission VI is already underway here in southern Iraq!
June 15, 2011 by Jeremy · Comments Off
At exactly this time last year, Hafez (pictured above) was facing down the worst Father’s Day of his life as he desperately worked against the clock to save his son’s life.
At exactly this time last year, we asked for your help… and you came through in a huge way, raising more than $30,000 in just a few weeks so we could launch our first-of-its-kind Remedy Mission inside Iraq.
At exactly this time last year, you made this father’s day and helped secure for him a happier life than the one he was facing without you.
Meet Abdul Kareem – the son of my friend, Hafez. When I met them, they did not have the money to pursue surgery outside of Iraq like all the rich people, people with political clout, or the lottery winners.
I’ll never forget Hafez’s plea to me – certainly the same plea I would make on behalf of my son – “Just do something for him. He’s just a little boy.” He got so emotional that he excused himself from my office. This father, having done all he could for his son, walked away from the office crying. Abdul Kareem needed heart surgery before his first birthday or he was likely to become entirely inoperable – “a lost cause.”
But you weren’t about to let that happen!
The day our surgical team arrived from all over the world for Remedy Mission I, Hafez must have seen us on the news because he called me ten times: “Is my boy going to surgery? Mr. Jeremy, just do something to help my little boy!”
His boy was going to surgery, thanks to those of you who gave in response to our request last year’s for Father’s Day and our Remedy Mission launch!
There is another moment with my friend Hafez that I won’t forget – the day his son Abdul Kareem had surgery. I remember it so distinctly because after the surgery Hafez grabbed me, kissed me, and gave me an
tearful “thank you” for keeping our word; for saving his son’s life.
tearful “thank you” for keeping our word; for saving his son’s life.
Once Abdul Kareem was discharged to return home, Hafez sent me a message from the road. The message said something like, “Thank you so much for your organization and for helping my little boy. We will not forget you.“ With tears running down his face, he wanted to thank you each by name. You made a father’s dream come true. And you prevented his big brother, Abbas, from growing up without a soccer-buddy.
Dad, I love all the great memories we’ve made together. This year, I wanted to add, “saving a child’s life in Iraq” to the list, so that another child and his father can make great memories together too.
|We want to make it easy for you to honor your dad this Father's Day and help save the life of baby Ghazel. A simple $10 donation will help us save her life and cover the cost of two hours of hands-on training with local Iraqi surgeons! A $25 donation will accomplish that and add hours of training in Iraq for an additional three Iraqi doctors and nurses! If you like, we'll even provide you with a free downloadable card that you can print and give to your dad this Father's Day!|
June 7, 2011 by Ted · Comments Off
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In preparing for my 2nd internship with PLC this summer I came across an article written by two well-known global health advocates and physicians (a prof at Harvard and the current president of Dartmouth, if you’re into credentials) on the topic of surgery in the global health movement. [Paul E. Farmer and Jim Y. Kim. 2008. "Surgery and Global Health: a View from Beyond the OR." World Journal of Surgery 32:533-536].
After discussing this article with one of the directors at PLC and thinking about our current model for surgical aid in Iraq, a few points stood out:
The authors’ first argument is that surgery is the “neglected stepchild of global healthcare.” The fact is, although surgical diseases (CHD being one of the most prevalent) are a major cause of death and disability in much of the world, the vast majority of healthcare programs don’t address surgical needs.
Why? Because surgical interventions are usually complicated and require a larger investment than other kinds of health interventions, and treating surgical diseases requires a more advanced infrastructure and the involvement of more professionals than treating, for instance, malnutrition or malaria.
There is also the fact that surgical diseases have lacked the same kind of advocacy and exposure that have led to funding and programs for “high-profile” diseases like tuberculosis or AIDS.
The other major issue addressed by Farmer and Kim is that countries that actually have the surgical services often only have them in just a few locales, and the treatment is usually too expensive to be accessible by most of the population.
The question then arises: how do we make this treatment available in settings where infrastructure is poor, trained professionals are scarce, equipment is needed, and “the only thing not needed is disease, which exists abundantly.”
Remedy Missions are our answer to that question.
As you know, we recently moved from sending children abroad for surgery to a model that provides more surgeries at less cost while simultaneously training local professionals.
These Remedy Missions specifically address the impediments to surgery in global health described by Farmer and Kim.
They provide treatment of CHD for families that would never be able to afford traveling abroad for surgery. Our work also means we’re freeing surgeons up to focus on surgery, because, as Farmer and Kim write, “clearly we don’t want surgeons to be dragged out of the operating room to manage logistics, supply chains…and financing.”
This process of providing surgery and training is also an exercise in infrastructure building as we work toward the development of heart centers in northern and southern Iraq. The fact that we can count both regional and national governments as partners addresses the need for surgical care in the public sector in Iraq, and it bodes especially well for poor families who will need to receive treatment in the future.
Lastly, the partnership and advocacy of our supporters (that’s YOU) is helping to raise awareness of the burden of CHD and other surgical diseases in places like Iraq.
With well-planned, structured interventions that take into account the needs and problems associated with surgical disease globally, and the support and advocacy of a Coalition of concerned individuals and communities (that’d be you again), problems like CHD can cease to be a “neglected stepchild” of global health and instead serve as a model for building health systems and effecting powerful change in global contexts.