Pediatricians claimed that early medical intervention may save 75% of CHD children and give them a normal life, The Hindu newspaper noted. But the country lacks comprehensive pediatric cardiovascular care service, and a shortage of specialists and infrastructure in both public and private sectors hampers CHD children´s future.
Lacking national policy for treating cardiovascular disease in children keeps a huge number of infants outside the scope of treatment.
According to India´s Pediatric Cardiac Society, CHD is one per 100 live births; that is, 200,000 children are born every year with congenital heart disease and only 15,000 of them are treated.
At least 30% of CHD children require surgery to survive to their first birthday, but only 2,500 operations can be conducted annually.
At India’s premier Institute of Medical Sciences, newborns are on the waiting list through 2026 for heart surgery.
India has 22 hospitals and less than 50 centers with infant and neonatal cardiology services. Geographically speaking, these centers are not well distributed, as the south of the country accounts for 70% of these units.
Apart from the low number of pediatric cardiologists and cardiac surgeons and critical care centers, poverty is another barrier for receiving a treatment. Meanwhile, transporting CHD newborns from little or no cardiac care service places to far-flung centers for accurate diagnosis and treatment places a financial burden on parents.
Plus, crucial equipment for diagnosing heart disease in fetuses through fetal echocardiography is not available.
Pediatricians state that prenatal CHD detection is crucial for neonatal care and treatment.