Chronic diseases don’t observe the boundaries of geography or economics, but the treatments often do. In Vietnam, where most families earn only a few dollars per day, specialized pediatric health care is beyond their grasp. Poor children in Vietnam suffer with no hope as their families lack funds and access to medical care and the associated transportation. VCF is beginning to look at solutions for all chronic diseases in children, but our focus since our inception has been children with congenital heart disease.
A study of heart surgery in Vietnam last year estimated that at any given time there may be as many as 30,000 children waiting to receive heart surgery in Vietnam. Many of these children will die waiting for help. Many are never diagnosed.
Heartbeat Vietnam is a VCF program that funds life-saving heart operations for the most disadvantaged children whose families cannot afford it. With matching funds from provincial government organizations, the Sponsoring Association for Poor Patients (SAPP), and insurance coverage, the cost to a donor to save a child’s life with heart surgery is just $1,000. To ensure early intervention and a lasting recovery for our beneficiary children, Heartbeat Vietnam includes the following components:
- Heartbeat Vietnam surgeries
- FedEx Delivers Heartbeats, which are mobile medical outreach clinics that rotate between provinces and are staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses who examine, diagnose, and treat children with heart disease, and perform post-operative checkups.
- Family Grants, which support nutrition, travel, and medical costs for extremely poor children and their families during their hospital stay.
- Continuing Care, which is a post-operative grant to assist destitute families with at-risk children regain their financial footing and ensure that their child receives proper medical care and nutrition.