An average of 7,000 children are born with hole-in-heart condition in the country every year, the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in Accra, Dr Lawrence Serebour, has disclosed.
According to him, the condition, caused by defects in the development of a baby, affects one out of every 100 live births in the country, and about half of this number die before their first birthday.
Dr Serebour was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic after receiving laboratory consumables donated to the centre by the China Healthcare of Heart Institution in Accra yesterday.
The items, which included coronary wires and catheters, were meant to stock the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at the centre.
Even though the causes of the hole-in-heart conditions in children are yet to be established, Dr Serebour advised pregnant women to avoid the intake of alcohol and the use of unprescribed drugs.
According to him, infections such as Rubella, also known as German measles, and the exposure to radiation during pregnancy were some of the causes of defects in babies.
Although Dr Serebour did not give the total number of children awaiting heart surgery at the centre, he said the number of children with hole-in-heart conditions was on the rise.
He, therefore, urged pregnant women to visit the hospital regularly for antenatal care.
Lack of resources
The director expressed concern over the lack of needed resources to operate on the hundreds of patients who came to the centre for surgery.
He indicated that the cost involved in the treatment of such conditions was expensive and, therefore, appealed for support from benevolent individuals, organisations and institutions to assist patients undergo the required surgeries.
Dr Serebour expressed appreciation to the Chinese benefactors for the continued support to the centre, indicating that the items were essential in performing operations on adults with heart conditions.
He said the two institutions had been partnering in various fields of surgery and training for doctors at the centre.
The Leader of the China Healthcare of Heart, Dr Lin Chunying, who presented the items, said there had been long standing bilateral relations between Ghana and China and that his outfit would continue to work with the centre to strengthen the health cooperation between the two countries.