‘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

‘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.


Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

Updated 49 min 21 sec ago

Kuwait vows to cut migrant population to 30%

DUBAI: The Kuwaiti government said it wants to cut the migrant proportion of its population from 70 to 30 percent to address what it called a population discrepancy. 
State media quoted the country’s prime minister saying that the state of Kuwait was facing a “big challenge” in its population structure and that it shall start relying on its citizens to replace foreign workers. 
Out of 4.8 million inhabitants, some 3.3 million are foreign nationals and 1.45 million are Kuwaitis, said Prime Minister Sabah Al-Khaled al-Hamad al-Sabah.
"The ideal demographic situation would be that Kuwaitis make up 70 percent of the population and non-Kuwaitis 30 percent," he said.
"So we face a big challenge in the future which is to address the discrepancy in population."
He said there were 75,000 foreign domestic helpers in the country, which equal half the population of Kuwaiti nationals. 
“We rely on our sons and daughters to work in all professions,” Al-Sabah added.

Kuwait has a large foreign population mostly made up of Middle Eastern and Asian workers.

Kuwait Airways said last week it would lay off 1,500 expatriate employees due to "significant difficulties" caused by the pandemic.