‘Save a Child’s Heart’ doctors honored at UN event

Doctors and medics try to resuscitate 14-year-old Palestinian boy Yasser Abu Al-Naja, who died later after he was shot by Israeli forces during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip on Friday. (REUTERS)
Updated 30 June 2018
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‘Save a Child’s Heart’ doctors honored at UN event

  • The nonprofit, funded mostly by private donors with some contributions from governments, has performed surgery on nearly 5,000 children since it was started about two decades ago
  • At the moment, 44 children are being treated free-of-charge at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon

NEW YORK: A group of Israeli doctors have bypassed the region’s politics to save thousands of Palestinian children and those from 57 other countries by operating on their diseased hearts.
Earlier this week, the doctors with Save a Child’s Heart, an organization based in Holon just south of Tel Aviv, were honored at the UN, where Israeli positions have often clashed with those held by Arab member nations. But group co-founder Dr. Sion Houri said that when it comes to children’s lives, “our activity is international, non-political and non-religious.”
He and two fellow physicians, Lior Sasson and Akiva Tamir, accepted the UN Population Award Tuesday for saving young lives — especially in war-torn and developing lands.
The nonprofit, funded mostly by private donors with some contributions from governments, has performed surgery on nearly 5,000 children since it was started about two decades ago, including more than 2,000 from the West Bank and Gaza and 300 from Iraq and Syria. The rest came from Africa, South America, Europe, Asia and throughout the Middle East.
At the moment, 44 children are being treated free-of-charge at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
The first patients in the 1990s were from Ethiopia, including a 15-year-old boy who lived in the streets with a life-threatening cardiac ailment. After recovering, he returned home and eventually opened a school for homeless street kids. Among them was a boy whom the school founder recently brought to Israel for his heart surgery.
“Many people might think that I’m naive, but we think treating a child with heart disease is like planting a seed of peace,” said Sasson, the organization’s lead surgeon.
Even though these children have heart conditions that are correctable, “the majority of them will die before the age of 20 as a result of the lack of facilities and doctors,” the surgeon said.
Save a Child’s Heart physicians are now training new teams of medical professionals to work in the West Bank, Ethiopia, Kenya, China, Romania, Moldova, Kenya and Tanzania.


Iran must disclose fate and location of hundreds of Ahwazi Arab prisoners: Amnesty International

Updated 31 min 20 sec ago
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Iran must disclose fate and location of hundreds of Ahwazi Arab prisoners: Amnesty International

LONDON: Amnesty International called on Tuesday on Iran to disclose the fate of hundreds of Ahwazi Arabs, who they say are being held without access to their families or legal representation.
The human rights group said in a report published Tuesday that it believes a number of Ahwazis have been executed in secret.
Ahwazi exiles told Amnesty that 22 men, including activist Mohammad Momeni Timas, had been killed.
The statement also said that since Sept. 24, up to 600 Ahwazi Arabs had been detained in a wave of arrests following an attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, that killed 24 people.
“If confirmed, the secret executions of these men would be not only a crime under international law but also an abhorrent violation of their right to life and a complete mockery of justice, even by the shocking standards of Iran’s judicial system,” Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said.
“It is difficult to imagine that these individuals could have received a fair trial within merely a few weeks of their arrests, let alone had the opportunity to appeal death sentences.”Ahmad Heydari, a 30-year-old ceramics shopkeeper arrested within a few days of the attack in Ahvaz, is also reported to have been killed.
Amnesty said his family heard no news of his fate or whereabouts until Nov. 11, when they were given his death certificate by the Ministry of Intelligence in Ahvaz, and told he had been executed on Nov. 8.
Officials said they were not handing over his body for burial and told the family they were not allowed to hold a memorial service for him.
Amnesty called on the Iranian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of all the detainees “without further delay” and “provide information about what legal procedures have taken place to date.”
“While the Iranian authorities have a duty to bring to justice anyone suspected of criminal responsibility for the attack in Ahvaz in fair trials, they must not use this as an excuse to carry out a purge against members of Iran’s persecuted Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority,” Luther said.