Dr. Godfrey Godwin, a Tanzanian doctor, spoke at Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas this past Friday. Dr. Godwin has been training in Israel for the past 5 years at Save a Child's Heart (SACH) in Holon, Israel.
The only pediatric cardiac surgeon in Tanzania, he is now returning to Tanzania to establish his own heart clinic. This will be quite a challenge for third world medicine, and he will certainly need the promised support of the government of Tanzania.
Currently, Save a Child's Life has saved 3300 children from 46 countries since the medical organization was created in 1995. All of the children who have been treated (primarily through open heart surgery) are from third world countries.
Last year 60 % of the children treated by SACH in Israel were Palestinian. Every Tuesday there is a clinic for Palestinian kids. SACH also operates a home for the children where they typically stay for three months before and after their surgery. SACH is also training doctors and medical staff from many countries and organizes medical missions. The treatment is free to all of these families thanks to private donations and grants from a variety of international sources including USAID and the European Union. Because all of the Israeli medical personnel volunteer their time, the estimated cost of treatment and care is only $10,000. This probably one tenth or even less of what this care would cost in the United States.
There are lots of individual stories to tell, including the story of Lilu who is a Chinese orphan who is leaving SACH on Monday after two successful surgeries. Lilu is returning to China and then has been adopted by a Christian family in San Diego. This whole project was funded and sponsored by an evangelical family who live just "up the block" in Moorpark.
SACH is probably right now Israel's largest international humanitarian project. Recently two children came from war ravaged Syria and were successfully treated. CNN is planning to follow him when he returns to Tanzania next month to participate in a SACH medical mission.
For more information about Save a Child's Life, speak to Or Ami congregant Jack Mayer.