New life for 8 children from Guyana

On April 28th 2006, Jeanette Singh, the President of Three Rivers Kids Foundation, a registered charitable organization in Canada accompanied 8 children from Guyana to The Heart Centre in Delhi where they all had open heart surgery. The names of the children are Fiaz Abdul, age 29 months from Stewartville, Diego Poon, age 5 years from Betterhope, Alicia Hookumchand, age 6 years from #41 Village, Berbice, Naline Singh, age 9 years from Mahaica, Shinese Coppin, age 12 years from Georgetown, Imitiaz Ali, age 16 years from Meter-men-zorg, Alana Halloway age 17 years from Bartica and Mark Henry age 17 years from Georgetown. Three Rivers Kids Foundation also paid for two children from Uttar Pradesh, India to have open heart surgery. Their names are Mohammed Tarique, 10 years old and Soni Rahaman age 8 years. The cost for the 10 surgeries, airfares from Georgetown to Delhi for the eight children and their mothers, accommodation and food is US$65,000.

Six of the eight children from Guyana had multiple congenital abnormalities of the heart and Rheumatic Heart Disease. The other two children had Rheumatic Heart disease only. The children who had congenital heart disease suffered from Atrial Septal Defects (ASD), large perimembranous Ventricular Septal Defects (VSD), Pulmonic and sub pulmonic stenosis and mitral stenosis. One child had what doctors call a “swiss cheese heart”. This child had 3 VSD (hole in the heart). Another child had to have a pacemaker inserted. Most of these children should have received surgical correction since early childhood. Failure to do this resulted in serious complications. These children were all failure to thrive, some of them had elevated Pulmonary Artery pressure, and elevated lung pressures.

Three of the children were considered inoperable by another doctor in India because of their complex diagnosis. The President of Three Rivers Kids Foundation, Jeanette Singh did not give up on these children. Instead she sought the opinions of cardiologists in Canada and India. Dr. Khalilullah, of the Heart Centre in Delhi, after detailed consultations with other pediatric cardiac surgeons in Delhi accepted these children from Guyana. In the Western world, it is a common practice for patients to get second opinions regarding their diagnosis and prognosis, and we wanted to make sure that the children from Guyana got the same level of care.

The group arrived in Delhi on April 28th, 2006. All the children had to have cardiac catheterization and angiograms done before surgery. This was necessary to make accurate diagnosis. Jeanette Singh, a Registered Nurse monitored the angiograms and assisted in the operating room for all the surgeries. Post operative recoveries were uneventful. The children returned to Guyana on May 18th. One child remained in India for an extra 10 days because he was not yet well enough to travel with the group. He and his mother returned to Guyana on May 27, 2006. He is in good health. Three Rivers Kids Foundation will continue to monitor their progress and supply them with their medications.

In 2005 Mrs. Jeanette Singh pioneered the establishment of a network of cardiac and other medical professionals across India for the purpose of taking children from Guyana to India for medical treatment. Dr. Cherian of Frontier Lifeline Hospital in Chennai, India was selected for the first mission. In September 2005, Three Rivers Kids Foundation took the first group of four children from Guyana to Chennai, India for open heart surgery. Mrs. Singh said, “This network took many months to setup. It is very gratifying to know that the network I created is now helping adults and children from Guyana access cardiac care in India.” Before this network was put in place, very few children or adults from Guyana received treatment to correct heart defects. Mrs. Singh has since expanded the network to include other specialists such as neurologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists in Delhi.

The cost for cardiac surgery in India is substantially lower than Trinidad, Barbados, USA, Canada and UK. For example simple surgeries like Balloon Mitral Valvoplasty costs about $US1,000, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and Device closure of Atrail Septal Defects (ASD) costs $US2,500. This price includes the hospital stay as well. Valve replacements cost from US$3,500 to US$4,500 depending upon the type of valve.

Three Rivers Kids Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support and assisstance of the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG).

Jeanette Singh, the Board Members of the Foundation and the children would like to express sincere gratitude and heartfelt thanks to Human Concern International, CIOG, Dr. Gavin Jagan, Maple Leaf Wheelchair Company, Timehri Restaurant, members of Shiva Shankar Bhawan, Richard Aziz of Shabnam Radio, Buddy Singh of West Indian United, Terry Sawh, Shakier Alladin, BWIA, Air India, Dave Pahuja and other individuals from the Punjabi community, Indigostar Software, Faizul from Comfort Inn (London, England) and all the people from Canada, USA and England who donated time and money to make this mission possible. A special thank you to Taiwo Stuart of BWIA, Georgetown.