China’s ‘Love Heart Journey’ Offers Lifeline to Lao Children Battling Heart Disease

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China’s ‘Love Heart Journey' Offers Lifeline to Lao Children Battling Heart Disease
A heart disease patient from Laos receives color Doppler ultrasound check at Yunnan Fuwai Cardiovascular Hospital. (photoL Yang Jinghao)

A group of five children, ranging from eight months to 12 years old, along with their parents, embarked on a journey from Laos to Kunming under the “Love Heart Journey” program. Facilitated by the Belt and Road Initiative, the initiative aims to provide free medical treatment for congenital heart disease in Kunming, China. The Laos-China Railway serves as the conduit for this life-changing endeavor.

Xonglinghoua, the mother of one of the children, expressed gratitude for the opportunity with the hope her child will be able to live a normal life. Her 12-year-old daughter is currently battling an atrial septal defect.

The “Love Heart Journey” program is a collaboration between the China Charity Federation, the Yunnan provincial government, and Yunnan Fuwai Cardiovascular Hospital (YFCH). Lu Jiang, assistant to the hospital’s president, assured that performing surgeries for these children is not a challenge, highlighting the hospital’s vast experience in conducting cardiac operations for over 5,000 children.

Lao cardiac surgeon Beelao Cherhoualor, based at Mahosot Hospital in Vientiane Capital, praised the “Love Heart Journey” initiative as he highlighted the limited facilities in Laos for pediatric cardiac cases. Cherhoualor expressed optimism for long-term medical cooperation between the two nations.

In a reciprocal gesture, a team from YFCH had earlier visited Laos, screening 6,000 children and treating patients on a mobile medical vehicle. The Lao doctor sees this collaboration as an opportunity for mutual learning, acknowledging that Lao hospitals lag behind in certain medical technologies.