“When we learned that our baby girl had a hole in her heart, I think I had a nervous breakdown. The heart is not something you can live without, like an arm or a leg. The heart is so vulnerable and central to life,” says Tintswalo Baloyi, mother of baby Atang who celebrated her first birthday this month, just two weeks after undergoing a specialised procedure to correct the life threatening heart defect with which she was born.
“Since the heart operation, Atang is recovering very well. She’s enjoying lots of attention from us and her grandmother, and we were so happy to celebrate her first birthday. She is still too young to talk, but even at such a young age our little girl knows what she wants, and she has no difficulty making it very clear to us,” laughs the relieved mother.
“Knowing our baby’s heart has been repaired is the best birthday present we could have wished for,” adds Atang’s father, Ernest Matshoga.
Teaming up for Atang
Atang, who turned one on 14 April, is the most recent beneficiary of the Heart to Heart Campaign, a corporate social investment match funding initiative of Medipost Holdings and the Netcare Foundation to help children who need urgent life saving heart operations. The Maboneng Foundation, a non-profit organisation, co-ordinates the sponsorship of surgeries for South African children with congenital heart defects.
Specialists of the renowned Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute provided their time and expertise pro bono for the baby girl’s heart operation, which was performed at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg.
“The team at Steve Biko Academic Hospital brought Atang’s situation to our attention, as the ventricular septal defect [VSD], or hole in the wall of his heart between the two chambers, was likely to become debilitating, potentially life threatening, if it was not corrected soon,” says cardiothoracic surgeon and co-founder of the Maboneng Heart Institute, Dr Erich Schürmann.
A race against time
“As the surgery to correct the defect is highly resource intensive and there is sadly such a great need for such procedures, there is a considerable waiting list. It is a race against time, however, because as the child grows the heart defect causes damage to the arteries of the lungs. We were determined to find a way to help Atang to have the operation sooner with private sector support to cover the theatre and hospitalisation costs,” he says.
Cardiothoracic surgeons Dr Martin Myburgh and Dr Hendrick Mamorare of the Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute, paediatric cardiologist Dr Janine Meares, anaesthetist Prof Nathi Mdladla and cardiac perfusionist Mr Thulas Dladla, who all practise at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, performed the procedure to close the hole in Atang’s small heart.
“It was very emotional for us parents waiting for our baby to come out of theatre. We are truly grateful for the opportunity, and we appreciate what this operation means for our daughter’s future,” Ernest says.
|Pic: Just two weeks before her first birthday, Atang Baloyi had a lifesaving heart operation sponsored by Medipost Holdings and the Netcare Foundation at the state of the art Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. The team of specialists who performed the surgery also gave their services pro bono. Atang is pictured with her father, Ernest Matshoga, and mother, Tintswalo Baloyi, after her operation. Photo courtesy of Debbie Yazbek Photography.
Pic: Recently, on 14 April, Atang Baloyi celebrated her first birthday back home in Mokopane, Limpopo, where she is recovering well after the specialised procedure to repair a life threatening heart defect. Her mother reports that she enjoyed her birthday and is back to her favourite activities, playing and dancing. Photo courtesy of Tinswalo Baloyi.
Pharmacist of the future?
When Atang’s mother was asked what career she could imagine for her baby when she grows up, Tintswalo said she would not be surprised if their little girl becomes a pharmacist one day. “She knows her medication so well, and she was so good when I gave her medicine for the heart condition, that I think she might have a future as a pharmacist. Her personality already shows she is caring, so perhaps that would be a good match for her – time will tell.”
“Whichever path Atang chooses, we are so pleased that this brave little girl has come through the operation so well and is ready to take on the future and the opportunities it will bring,” adds Rentia Myburgh, group sales and marketing director for Medipost Holdings, comprising Medipost Pharmacy, MediLogistics, Kawari Wholesaler and Distributor, and the MediTraining Academy.
“Our sincere thanks to the Netcare Foundation for matching our CSI donation, which has enabled twice as much to be achieved for children like Atang in need of life saving procedures,” she says.
“We wish Atang a very happy first birthday, and we are absolutely delighted that she now has the chance of living a full and healthy life,” adds Mande Toubkin, general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI at Netcare, and a trustee of the Netcare Foundation.
“God bless all the doctors and nurses who looked after our little girl – You are not just doing your jobs, you are making miracles. We are so grateful to Medipost, the Netcare Foundation and Maboneng Institute for making this possible. We can never forget what you have done for Atang,” Tintswalo concluded.
For more information about the Maboneng Foundation, which coordinates sponsorship of the procedures, or to make a donation please visit http://www.mabonengfoundation.co.za/.
For more information on Medipost Holdings companies’ services, please visit https://medipost.co.za/, https://kawari.co.za/, https://medilogistics.co.za/ and https://meditraining.medipost.co.za/.
To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please contact Netcare’s customer service centre either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.
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For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of the Netcare Foundation and Medipost Holdings
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clementine Forsthofer
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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