Doctors at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center in Kochi have successfully treated an African teenager from his cardiac ailment with a heart operation to close seven holes in his heart.
Hailing from Gonder, 400 kms away from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, Filimon Berhanie was seven months old, when he was first taken ill and was diagnosed to have multiple holes between the two main pumping chambers of the heart. Since there was no treatment facility for pediatric heart ailment in his country, doctors at Addis Ababa referred him to a specialty hospital in South Africa. But since his parents could not afford the expensive treatment in South Africa, they decided to come to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center in Kochi for advanced treatment. Filimon has had a successful surgery and is now looking forward to return home and pursue his studies to become an engineer.
The African continent suffers from a very high burden of rheumatic and other forms of structural heart disease and unfortunately, they have very limited facilities to deal with such cases. Previously, Europe and US were the preferred destination for heart patients. But the cost of care and numerous logistic hurdles in most of these countries is prohibitive. With India matching any advanced country in terms of healthcare facilities, both human and material resources, many patients are coming to selected centers in India for treatment. Also, the cost of treatment in India is substantially very less than any hospital in the Europe or the US.
Dr. Krishna Kumar, head of the department of Pediatric Cardiology at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, who treated Filimon, said, "Filimon was among the 13 children from Ethiopia who were treated at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Center for ailments like advanced rheumatic heart valve disease, congenital heart defects and spinal tumor." This is reportedly the eighth batch of patients from Ethiopia, supported by American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.