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17 Afghan children undergo lifesaving surgeries in China

17 Afghan children undergo lifesaving surgeries in China

Sep 07, 2017 - 15:20

BEIJING, China (Pajhwok): Doctors in northwestern China have performed lifesaving surgeries on 17 Afghan children with congenital heart disease, the first of many expected to receive help through an ongoing Red Cross program.

A child with congenital heart disease from Afghanistan was prepared for an operation at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University in northwestern China on Saturday, local media reports.

The program is part of the Red Cross Society of China's humanitarian activities in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

It comes after a Chinese medical team visited Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, late last month to prepare desperately ill youngsters to be flown to China for free advanced treatment.

The first group of 21 children, aged two to 14, arrived at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University on Aug 30. As of Monday, 17 had undergone successful operations and were recovering well, according to Zhang Haibo, head surgeon for the program.

"The first day of operations (on Friday) all went well," he said. "Doctors from across China have become a great team in the operating room."

Angiza, 2, was among four children who received surgery on Friday. It took seven doctors three hours to fix an atrial septal defect, a serious condition that can affect oxygen levels in the blood.

Other children, like Marwa, have been receiving nonsurgical treatment. The 3-year-old has an abnormal heart structure, which means she is weaker and thinner than an average child of her age. Due to complications, doctors decided that surgery was too risky.