Every year, thousands of children are born with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), and the lack of awareness about the condition and proper medical care lead to the loss of many precious lives. Aishwarya Trust was formed in 2008 with the goal to reduce the number of preventable deaths associated with CHD. Since our inception, we have been determined to raise awareness about the condition and help children from underprivileged backgrounds fight the disease. Our Tamil Nadu CHD Screening Programme is one of our most ambitious initiatives towards this direction.
Aishwarya Trust has been holding screening programmes in different parts of Tamil Nadu since the very beginning. We started our first major screening programme in the UT of Pondicherry in collaboration with the Health Department of the Government of Pondicherry. In March 2013, we signed an MOU with the Rajiv Gandhi Women & Children`s Govt Hospital Pondicherry for a newborn CHD screening programme, which proved to be a success. For this programme, Cognizant Foundation, associated with us since a long time, donated the Echocardiogram Machine. Thrice a week, our Paediatric Cardiologists travel to Pondicherry to screen the newborns, and till date, we have screened more than 28,000 children through this program. Around 75 of them have received the requisite medical treatment.
Our screening programme received a further boost when we signed an MOU with the Saidapet Corporation Hospitals in January 2014. We hold screening programmes for newborns twice a week and here again, a corporate foundation donated the machine to carry out the tests. We have so far screened 12,000 newborns in the past 2.5 years, and 27 of them have received treatment.
Recently, we signed an MOU with the Vellore Medical College for a once-in-a-month free screening programme. As a part of this programme, children diagnosed with CHD would be offered treatment in Chennai. The cardiology department of the hospital lately operated on 25 children suffering from CHD with help from Aishwarya Trust to meet the expenses of the surgery.
We are also honoured to be a part of the Government-led National Rural Health Mission since July 2016. In partnership with the Tamil Nadu Govt., we are conducting a screening programme with the focus on diagnosis and treatment of children with CHD to bring down the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in the state.
The Tamil Nadu CHD screening programme has become a huge part of Aishwarya Trust. We are perhaps the only NGO in South India to run such a comprehensive CHD screening programme. In our journey, we have been supported by our donors to make our mission a success. From providing us with the diagnostic machinery to helping us finance the treatment of children, they have been the backbone of our organisation. Recently, Deutsche Bank also came forward to support us in funding the surgery for underprivileged children with CHD.
CHD affects one in a hundred babies. Some of them die even before they could go to school. But awareness, timely diagnosis, and right treatment can help the little ones fight the disease. So spread the word about CHD and help save lives.