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Aug 28, 2008

Rotary Club holds free Gift of Life clinic

Story PictureGun and gang violence are not the only threats that our Belizean youths are facing. Today, News Five visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital where we found a number of youths along with their parents waiting patiently to receive feedback on their heart conditions. The youths were attending a clinic held by the Rotary Club of Belize’s Gift of Life Program. News Five’s Duane Moody has more.

Duane Moody, Reporting
Our hearts were extremely touched by the scene at the K.H.M.H. this morning. Kids ranging from only a couple months old to teens with chronic heart problems were all in the Psychotherapy lobby to find out what their conditions are and whether they are in need of urgent medical assistance.

Heidi Hess, Nurse Practitioner
“We come every August to have a clinic and we invite all of the children in the country of Belize to come here to have their check up. Some of them are patients that we have done surgery on in the past and we are having a check up with them. Some of them we are just watching and others are ones that are new patients to us that we are able to tell them either no you don’t have a heart or yes you do and we need to do something about it.”

Duane Moody
“Out of a ratio how many of the kids that are here actually have a heart problem?”

Heidi Hess
“I’d say about seventy-five percent of the children that come here actually have a heart problem.”

About seventy children countrywide are currently being monitored by the Gift of Life Program coordinated by the Rotary Club of Belize. According to President, Ellison Flowers, the programme has saved many more lives.

Ellison Flowers, President of the Rotary Club of Belize
“What the Rotary Club of Belize does is that we are concerned with the health of our kids with congenital heart diseases. So twice a year we have a programme where we get visiting doctors from the states who come in and do the various testing so that we can determine whether the kids are in fact eligible to go away to get medical attention. Generally, on a yearly basis, we do about seventeen kids. That’s the most we’ve done in the past couple of years—between fifteen or seventeen kids per year.”

Rotary and their team of doctors can only do so much, but parents and doctors also play a vital role in preventing this problem.

Heidi Hess
“So that’s another one of the very big things that were are trying to provide is some acknowledge to the pediatricians about the treatments of some common infections that can actually start damaging the children’s hearts and these children that have high fevers need to really be watched and have the appropriate antibiotics being given to them.”

Duane Moody, reporting for News Five.

The Gift of Life Program by the Rotary Club of Belize has been active since 1998 and over a hundred kids have received assistance. In the future, Rotary intends to improve on the amount of assistance they provide.

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