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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt readies fifth batch

Dec. 7: Children who were diagnosed with congenital heart disease at a recent screening camp held in Gauhati Medical College and Hospital will soon be sent for heart surgery to the Calcutta-based Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences and the Bangalore-based Narayana Hrudayalaya.

These children will undergo surgeries under the state government’s initiative to provide free treatment to kids suffering from various heart ailments.

The surgeries together with other medical expenses of the patients will be borne by the state government.

As has been the rule, only one attendant will be able to accompany a child and the expenses for travel and lodging for both the attendant and patient will also be borne by the government. However, the final selection of children is yet to be made.

At the camp in GMCH, doctors of the department of paediatric surgery screened several children, mostly from different districts of lower Assam.

However, doctors could not reveal the exact number of children diagnosed with heart ailments because the final selection will be done after the children are screened at Assam Medical College and Hospital at Dibrugarh and Silchar Medical College and Hospital.

“Several children between 0 and 14 years of age were screened during the screening camp held this time. But we will make the final selection only after screening concludes at the AMCH and SMCH. Besides, the selection is made on different criteria — children with serious heart conditions requiring immediate surgical intervention, children whose condition requires surgical intervention but can wait for a while and children who can be treated with medication,” said N.C. Bhattacharya, head of the department of paediatric surgery at GMCH.

Children will be screened for congenital heart diseases at similar screening camps to be conducted at AMCH and SMCH. While children from the Upper Assam districts will be screened at AMCH, those from Barak Valley will be screened at SMCH.

The government currently spends about Rs 6 to Rs 7 crore every year to send children to Narayana Hrudayalaya. So far, over 1,000 children have successfully undergone these surgeries.

“The state government has sent over 1,000 children in four batches for surgery to Narayana Hrudayalaya. This time, the screening is being conducted for the fifth batch of children,” said Bhattacharya.

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