Red Cross offers Afghan children a lifeline

By Mao Weihua/Cui Jia | China Daily | 2017-09-07 08:10

Red Cross offers Afghan children a lifeline

After being screened by Chinese medics at the Kabul Royal Hospital, the first group of 21 children, aged 2 to 14, arrived at the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University on Aug 30. As of Monday, 17 had undergone successful operations and were recovering well. WANG JING/CHINA DAILY

Originally, the doctors planned to screen only children age 7 and under. Yet as the demand among older children was so high, they decided to expand the program to those aged 8 to 14.

"Although some of the children's heart defects are not difficult to fix, they have missed the best time for treatment-which was when they are younger-due to the poor medical conditions in Afghanistan. So there are risks," said surgeon Zhang, who is director of Shanghai Children's Medical Center's cardiothoracic department.

The program is backed by the Belt and Road Fraternity Fund, which the Chinese Red Cross Foundation launched in February to support humanitarian activities and cooperation in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The fund, mostly made up of donations from Chinese corporations, has become a new channel for domestic enterprises to perform humanitarian work, according to Wang Ping, the society's vice-president.

Military conflicts, natural disasters and uneven socioeconomic development are common in countries and regions along the proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which means local demand for humanitarian aid is immense, he said.

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