Congenital heart defect (CHD) is a condition where a baby’s heart is either deformed and/or doesn’t function normally. One in 100 children is born with a heart defect worldwide. CHD is the most common type of birth defect and the leading cause of infant deaths in the developed world. It is approximately 60 times more prevalent than childhood cancer and 25 times more common than cystic fibrosis.
Why is this so life-threating?
While a baby with a heart defect is inside the womb, he is perfectly safe. He receives his nutrients and oxygen from his mom’s placenta through the umbilical cord. As soon as the baby needs to rely on his own defective heart to circulate blood, the danger starts. A child born with a heart defect needs immediate medical attention to determine the course of action and intervention to treat the CHD.
South African children born with CHD are placed on surgical waiting lists which can be up to 1 000 patients long. Without adequate financing, often this can result in years of waiting before they receive the surgical treatment they need, if there is still time.
Despite the fact that CHD’s, once diagnosed, are mostly treatable, more than 3 000 South African children die or remain disabled each year while waiting for surgery. For the rest of Africa, there are an estimated 335 000 annual CHD births, half of whom will die within a few years of birth.
How you can help
The Children’s Cardiac Foundation of Africa is on a mission to raise funds needed for life-saving surgery for children who suffer from Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).
Consumers and corporates alike can help, no amount is too big or too small – all donations are welcome.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.