Ten Haitian children, between the ages of three and twelve, suffering from cardiovascular diseases, left their families on Wednesday, November 27th, at least temporarily. They will stay in South Korea for a few weeks to undergo operations by leading experts through a Liberty International Development (DFI) charitable program funded to the tune of 200,000 USD.
While Haiti has very few cardiologists, approximately 11,000 children suffer from cardiovascular diseases. The DFI is aware. After financing in 2012 eight young Haitian cardiac patients’ trip to South Korea to undergo surgical interventions, the South Korean NGO does not intend to stop. Indeed, ten Haitian children flew on Wednesday the 27th to Seoul. “We will continue to facilitate the care of children through this program until Haiti is equipped with modern infrastructures and technologies to meet the needs of people with cardiovascular diseases,” said Helen Kim, DFI Director. She also points out that her institution will arrange for two Haitian doctors to travel to South Korea to participate in a continuous six-month cardiology training program this year. The issue of cardiology seems to be the focal point of DFI’s initiatives. According to Kim, the South Korean government is willing to release 500,000 USD for the construction of a hospital in Haiti which should be operational in 2016. The hospital will provide services for heart patients, children and adults. “We have and need the support of the Haitian government,” she said, hoping that in ten years, the country will be able to assume cardiological care with qualified professionals and modern infrastructure. According to Robert Labrousse, Secretary of State for External Cooperation, DFI is not alone in its fight against cardiovascular disease. “The government, through the Ministry of Public Health and Population, has facilitated DFI’s acquisition of land on which said hospital will be built,” he stated, a few hours before the children flew to Seoul, via New York. Parents are ecstatic. Andrise Casséus was happy to see her fatherless 6 year old son, who has suffered from chronic heart disease for over a year, finally undergo surgery that is crucial to his future. “I thank DFI and I will continue to pray to God that everything goes well there,” she said; glad to know her son is in good hands while still a bit worried. “I had nobody to help me.” Promising to send 15 children next year to Seoul as part of the same program, the South Korean NGO, whose actions affect mostly women and children, was established in May 2012. Present in several countries, it is funded by various South Korean Christian associations as well as local musical stars. Article by Juno Jean Baptiste Translated from Le Nouvelliste by Rachele Viard