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Save A Child’s Heart Visits Melbourne

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Monday 1 December the ZCV, along with AUJS, the Australasion Jewish Medical Federation and AUSiMED, hosted a community event to learn about Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), a ground-breaking Israeli initiative that provides paediatric cardiac treatment to underprivileged and impoverished children from around the globe regardless of ethnicity, religion or nationality.

Participants heard from Executive Director Simon Fisher and Dr Yayehyriad Mekonnen who is currently training at the Wolfson Centre in Holon, Israel. Dr Mekonnen, who was born and raised in Ethiopia, is set to become that country’s first ever paediatric heart surgeon. He explained to the captive audience how meaningful and significant it was to him to be able to help his people, many of whom are dying unnecessarily due to lack of resources and expertise in the region. He explained that in Ethiopia, 1 in every 100 babies born has a congenital heart disorder, so there are an incredibly large number of people who need the medical attention SACH provides.

Dr Mekonnen was humbled yet palpably excited by the prospect of going back to Ethiopia to begin the long process of establishing a successful centre for treating paediatric cardiac disorders. Dr Mekonnen also took the opportunity to gently but firmly remind the audience of the transcendental nature of the work that SACH does, and that what really counted when it came down to making a difference in the world was love and caring compassion. Dr Mekonnen eloquently summed up the formation of the SACH initiative, stating “it started with just one good surgeon. Not born of a millionaire, just one good person who cared. That’s all it took.”
 
Mr Fisher spoke about the direct care work SACH performs and emphasised the importance of their second major aim, training new paediatric cardiac surgeons, nurses and carers, and helping to build centres of medical competence in areas otherwise unequipped to deal with paediatric cardiac disorders.
While SACH has treated over 3000 children since its inception in 1996, Mr Fisher stressed that at this stage, they still simply have to take it one child at a time.

For more information on SACH, please refer to their website at: http://www.saveachildsheart.com/