Perhaps one of the deadliest and the most horrifying healthcare conditions that exist in our world are heart diseases. Heart diseases continue to haunt the lives of thousands of individuals across the globe, irrespective of their class, age and gender. Each year, reportedly, millions lose the battle of their lives at the hands of this awful condition. Even though there are several precautionary steps that an individual can undertake to ensure the healthy functioning of one’s heart, there are still some afflicted who cannot control their condition. They are helpless at the hands of fate for they have been born with malformed hearts.
It has been estimated that in Pakistan alone, around 60,000 babies are born with congenital heart diseases. Infants have incomplete heart development, leaky valves, and holes and sometimes missing parts, all of which contribute to a severe health crisis. It goes without any special mention that the human heart is one of the most essential and one of the most vital organs in the body, without which sustenance is not possible. It is the heart that ensures that a steady supply of nutrition and oxygen is provided to all cells in the body. It is only with its proper functioning that a person can live a complete life. As for little children, who have barely begun their lives a fully-functional heart guarantees normal childhood, where growth and development are not obscured. However, it is a sad, sad condition that the number of reported cases is on a steady rise and there seems to be no apparent solution to this pressing problem.
There isn’t much that can be done to make sure that children are fully formed while they are in their mothers’ wombs. In the fetal stage, it is very difficult to diagnose issues. And even if a correct diagnosis has been made, there is very little that can be done about the crisis. It can be regarded as a matter of fate that has affected the children and their parents. However, this does not mean that all hope is lost. While it is a fact that the infants cannot be blamed for their condition, it is also a fact that such ill children can fully be treated, given that they are provided with complete and comprehensive tertiary treatment. Such children have to undergo multiple procedures, including surgeries. However, the results are generally positive and make the efforts worth it. After being treated, infants with heart diseases can go on to live normal and healthy lives, indistinguishable from those children who were born with complete hearts.
However, the requirement for a proper cure is, as mentioned above, an extensive treatment process. This treatment process is neither short nor easy on the pocket. Parents have to spend hundreds of thousands of rupees to make sure that their children are in good physical shape. But this brings us to the sad truth of Pakistan. Pakistan is a developing country, with most of its population living as barely middle-class citizens. It is very difficult for an average Pakistani household to barely meet needs, let alone afford expensive healthcare facilities. Many a time, individuals are forced to sell all their belongings (in case they have any) to pay for the heavy hospital dues. Other times, parents do not have anything to sell either, and they are forced to see their babies slowly, and painfully, succumb to death. This is something no one deserves, no matter the circumstances.
Pakistan has been a struggling economy since its very inception. While there have been several notable improvements in the various sectors of the society, healthcare is still one of those domains governments after governments have failed to pay heed to. Years up years of corruption and mismanagement have led us to the current situation, where there are very few resources available in hospitals (which are themselves scarce and restricted to major cities). The final nail in the coffin is the unavailability of quality healthcare facilities sponsored by the state. While there do exist government hospitals, their conditions are pitiful. With this scenario serving as the backdrop of the Pakistani society, it is understandable why heart diseases in children have created an alarming situation in Pakistan. It is beyond time that the state realises its important role in the development of the healthcare infrastructure to make sure that no child goes untreated.