India is a developing country and one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. However facilities for treatment of heart diseases are very limited. Considering the fact that 80% of medical care facility is in the hands of private sector in India, CSR efforts like those initiated by NHI have stepped in to bridge the gap and make quality heart care available to those from the poorer sections of society. These activities can be broadly divided as under.
Our Senior Consultant Cardiologists, Cardiac Surgeons and Physicians provide consultation and investigations free of charge 6 days a week. The total number of patients seen in the free OPD in the last 12 months was 840. The value of services provided in the free OPD is over Rs.7 lacs per year.
National Heart Institute has reserved 10% beds for poor patients where every facility available in our hospital (All Lab tests, Radiological procedures, Noninvasive Lab procedures, Cath Lab procedures and all types of Cardiac Surgeries) are provided free of cost to the patients of poor economic status. It is worth mentioning here that the National Heart Institute is the referral centre for treating patients belonging to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) with cardiac ailments by the Government of NCT of Delhi. Such patients are referred to us by the Nodal Officers of Safdarjung and Hindu Rao Hospitals. Seventy seven patients were admitted and treated under these categories in the last one year and the cost of service provided was over Rs.59 lacs.
Approximately 8 of every 1000 children in India suffer from birth heart defects (Congenital Heart Disease – CHD). One of the chronic diseases, therefore, which account for almost 20 percent of infant mortality in India is Congenital Heart Disease. Similarly almost 1-5% of children develop rheumatic fever before the age of 15 years (Disease of the heart valves). However facilities for complex heart surgery in children in our country are very limited. Either the children do not have access to treatment or they do not have the financial resources to meet the hefty costs of surgery. Considering the fact that 80% of medical care facility is in the hands of private sector in India, Rotary International approached National Heart Institute, New Delhi in the year 2006 for a humanitarian partnership to save the lives of these unfortunate children. During the Silver Jubilee Celebrations on 20th of August, 2006, National Heart Institute in association with Rotary Club, East End and Rotary International launched the Gift of Life Programme. Under this programme, children were provided free cardiac surgery, medicine, food, accommodation, hospitality, conveyance etc.
National Heart Institute is the main centre in India for the “Gift of Life” programme of Rotary International wherein poor children from all over India and adjoining countries like Pakistan, Nepal , Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are brought for surgery of congenital (birth) defects like holes in the heart; blue babies, valve replacement surgeries etc. More than a 100 children have been operated under this programme.
Till date over a 100 open heart surgeries have been performed at National Heart Institute under our Corporate - Social Responsibility programme. Children have come to NHI from all parts of India especially from remote areas of North East India, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala. All surgeries are performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr. O. P. Yadava, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Cardiac Surgeon, National Heart Institute. Under this programme our team performed lifesaving open heart surgery on a critically ill child from Uganda under ‘Gift of Life’ programme. The successful valve replacement of Kabuuka Emmanuel, a 16 year old boy marked the beginning of a new relationship between the people of India and Uganda according to Her Excellency Ms. Nimisha Madhvani, High Commissioner of Uganda to India, who visited NHI to meet the child. Kabuuka underwent open heart surgery at NHI on 29 December, 2009 and returned to Uganda on 14 January 2009. This case was a challenge for NHI because Kabuuka’s surgery was rejected by 5 different hospitals in the US, being a high risk case.
This was followed by launch of a new programme called 'Our Hearts are in Uganda' & subsequently many more children from Uganda successfully underwent complex surgeries in the form of valve replacement and correction of congenital heart defects. This programme is a classic example of how Rotary and NHI can promote peace and understanding between nations through international humanitarian service as this initiative transcends borders, caste, creed, region, religion, race and colour. Through ‘Gift of Life’ partnership Rotary and NHI are giving life to children otherwise born to die! Many children from North East India have also undergone successful heart surgery at NHI. His Excellency Gen J J Singh, then Hon’ble Governor of Arunachal Pradesh & Mrs. J. J. Singh visited NHI to congratulate the team personally. Rotary International President Rtn D K Lee also visited NHI to congratulate the team while seven children were being successfully operated. Rotarians and the hospital staff at NHI, that are working on these children, are an answer to a parent's prayers and are changing the world, one little heart at a time. NHI and Rotary intend to arrange 100 surgeries per year in the coming years. We invite all our friends & well-wishers to join in this venture & help bring a smile to at least one face each.
Similarly National Heart Institute has tied up with Govt. of Uttarakhand for taking tertiary care services to the people of the remotest parts of the hill state of Uttarakhand. Under this scheme, regular heart checkup camps are organized in the Himalayan belt of Kumaon and Garhwal and those patients suffering from advanced heart disorders needing interventional treatment or heart surgery are brought to Delhi. Over 175 patients have undergone complex Open Heart Surgeries at National Heart Institute under the Vyadhi Nidhi Programme in which the hospital performs the surgery free of cost and only the cost of disposables is met by the Govt. of Uttarakhand. This is one shining example of a successful public private partnership for the welfare of humanity.
As the ‘Gift of Life’ programme caters to only children and the ‘Vyadhi Nidhi’ is limited to residents of Uttarakhand, the ‘Winning Heart’ programme was started at National Heart Institute with a view to helping others, who did not fall under the purview of the above two categories, specially people in the middle and elderly age group. We have operated on 19 patients under the ‘Winning Heart’ scheme and here donations are accepted from Friends of NHI and well-wishers of humanity. When we take up a patient for surgery, any small amount that we can raise for the patient is acceptable & welcome and the balance is subsidized from the hospital resources. All this has been possible because of the blessings of God Almighty & combined efforts of the Rotarians, especially Mr. Sushil Gupta, Advisor - Gift of Life, Mr. A.C Peter, National Coordinator – Gift of Life, Staff, Faculty and Friends of National Heart Institute, like Padma Bhushan Mr. P.P Rao and Padma Bhushan Mr. Harish Salve Senior Advocates, Supreme Court, and many more, without whose patronage these projects would not have seen the Light of the Day.
Heart Beat International, a voluntary organisation in USA, has set up a pacemaker bank in National Heart Institute in collaboration with the Amroha Rotary club. The organisation has thus far donated about 180 pacemakers and 13 I.C.D, out of which 170 pacemakers and 2 I.C.D have been implanted for the benefit of poor patients. Implantation is done at the National Heart Institute, free of cost to all poor and financially impoverished patients. An artificial cardiac pacemaker is a life saving device. It is implanted in patients with very slow heart rates which interfere with day-to-day living. A pacemaker clinic is regularly run at the hospital for check-up of patients with implanted pacemakers and for trouble shooting malfunctioning pacemakers.