Gulf News, 9 November 2011
Wife of former UK premier meets children and inspects work being done by charity initiative.
Dubai: Cherie Blair, wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, paid a visit to Dubai Hospital to meet children who underwent free heart surgeries.
Blair spent time with the children and their families and wished them a speedy recovery. She praised the initiative which helps save the lives of children with congenital heart defects.
Dr Obaid Al Jassim, consultant cardiac surgeon at Dubai Hospital and the head of its cardiothoracic surgery department gave her an overview of the initiative.
He said the programme was part of the humanitarian initiative of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment.
The DHA conducts workshops with international visiting doctors to perform free complex cardiac procedures for children from birth until 19 years, he said.
This year, the DHA performed four workshops with the visiting team of cardiac specialists from the San Donato Hospital in Milan.
The cost of the procedures for emiratis is covered by DHA and the Charity Establishment covers the cost for expatriate families. Dr Al Jassim said most of the families of these children would otherwise be unable to afford the cost of these procedures.
He said since the beginning of this programme in 2007, the DHA has already conducted more than 230 surgeries and catherisation procedures for children who require them most.
In October this year, 16 children underwent cardiac procedures. Seven underwent open-heart surgery and the catheterisation procedure was performed on nine children.
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