Facebook users now have the opportunity to save the lives of Filipino children afflicted with potentially deadly congenital heart defects: the Save the Little Hearts Facebook campaign by the DM Healthcare Foundation will be giving medical grants to Filipino child patients so they could avail of life-saving surgeries for free.
Titled “1LIKE, 1HEART TO SAVE”, the campaign aims not only to raise funds for free heart surgeries for kids but also to make the public more aware of the serious public health issue of congenital heart defects in infants.
“Through this campaign, we are hoping to accomplish two things simultaneously: first, to raise funds for the Filipino kids with congenital heart defect, or CHD; and second, to educate the public that congenital heart defect is threatening thousands of Filipino infants every year,” said Dr. Sanjiv Malik, Board of Trustee of the foundation and CEO for Hospitals and Medical Centers Division of DM Healthcare LLC.
“Like” to save lives
The Save the Little Hearts Facebook campaign asks FB users to “Like” its official page on FB (http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheLittleHearts). With each “Like”, DM
Healthcare Foundation will donate P100 to fund free surgeries for Filipino child patients with CHD. Every person who “Likes” the STLH FB page is encouraged to invite more friends to “Like” the page, as well. Thus, for every “Like” that is reciprocated by five more FB friends, P600 will be raised to fund the free cardiac surgeries.
“As Facebook users, we Like photos and other posts every day. We take it for granted and it’s already a routine. Now why not make that simple act of Liking on FB a life-
saving activity? In that way, what is routine becomes a vital and meaningful action,” explained Joyce Socao-Alumno, Country Representative of DM Healthcare Foundation in the Philippines who initiated the viral campaign for the program.
But why put the campaign on Facebook? Why doesn’t DM Healthcare Foundation just straight away give the money to the kids?
“More than just raising funds, we want to generate social engagement that will, hopefully spark the public’s interest in the issue of Congenital Heart Defect in infants.
That’s why we encourage those who “Like” our page to also read through the information and other photos provided there, so they will have an idea how valuable their contribution is to the lives of children with CHD. As more and more people know about CHD, we will hopefully bring our message across and encourage others to help children with CHD as well,” Alumno continued.
Facebook users who “Like” the STLH page will be able to get a photo badge that says, “I Saved a Little Heart” as recognition for their contribution to the free surgeries for the kids with CHD. The badge may be posted on their wall, as part of an FB photo album, or pasted onto their profile picture.
“We are aiming to raise at least a million pesos for these pediatric CHD patients by February 2013 as a Valentine treat for the children. So we are encouraging FB users to keep Liking the STHL FB Page,” said Alumno.
The exact causes of congenital heart defect are not fully known, although researches point to several risk factors: a) genetics; b) exposure of the pregnant mother and fetus
to environmental toxins or certain medications (like thalidomide); c) malnutrition of the mother during pregnancy; and d) alcohol consumption of the mother during pregnancy.
The exact number of CHD cases among newborn infants in the world is not fully known. This is because CHD cases are underreported especially in poorer nations.
Various estimates put the global prevalence of CHD at 8 or 9 newborns per 1000 births.
According to one study, about 1.35 million babies were born with CHD in the past 15 years (Source: “Birth prevalence of congenital heart disease worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, Department of Cardiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands).
Another estimate states that around 100,000 babies a year will die from complications related to CHD, within their first year of life. Among all known birth defects in newborns, CHD is the number one cause of infant mortality.
In the Philippines, the exact number of Filipino newborns with CHD is unknown—it is one of those conditions that have not been properly tracked as of yet. The Philippine Heart Center reports, however, that in 2011, they attended to about 8,710 cases of infant CHD. Of this number, sadly, only 468 were able to undergo surgery.
“We cannot properly address infant CHD cases nationwide if we don’t have the proper data about the number of newborn CHD cases per year. More research and record-keeping are needed. When we have the data, only then can we identify the risk factorscausing CHD among Filipino infants, and then formulate strategies to prevent or treat these patients,” said Dr. Malik.
For the past 25 years, DM Foundation has been providing healthcare education programs as well as basic and advanced healthcare services to the less fortunate in India as well as the Middle East (countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council or GCC). DM Foundation is an affiliate of DM Healthcare LLC.
Largest healthcare provider
DM Healthcare LLC is the largest healthcare provider in the GCC with headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, consists of around 148 hospitals and other medical
facilities, providing primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare. At present, the group is in the midst of exponential expansion in GCC, India, and other countries.
Its affiliate, DM Foundation, continues to foster initiatives and focuses on various Community Health Programs and other CSR initiatives like Health Camps, Eye Camps, Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, dialysis centers and other philanthropic ventures in India, Africa and GCC.
On the occasion of its 25th anniversary, DM Foundation is opening its headquarters in the Philippines in order to expand the reach of its charitable and philanthropic work; in order to help Filipinos who are in urgent need to healthcare services—but are unable to do so due to poverty and other difficulties. Its Philippines headquarters is registered under the name DM Healthcare Foundation, Inc.
For more information about the Save the Little Hearts Facebook campaign, please go to the Official Save the Little Hearts FB page at https://www.facebook.com/
SaveTheLittleHearts or the DM Healthcare website at http://www.dmhealthcare.com. INQUIRER.net