LIFE&STYLE

Rotary Korea offers free heart surgery for 60 Mongolian infants

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Sept 30, 2018 - 17:26
  • Updated : Sept 30, 2018 - 17:26
Some 60 Mongolian infants have received heart surgery operations free of charge over the past six years through a charity program funded by Rotary Korea, the organizers said.

Korean medical professionals pose for a photo in Mongolia, where they have performed some 60 free heart surgery operations for local children over the past six years. Rotary Korea

The Seoul bureau of Rotary International, a global service organization dedicated to bringing professional leaders and businesses together to provide humanitarian aid to the vulnerable, donated some $376,000 for the program.

The 60 children in need of the critical treatment recovered after the surgeries provided by 26 Korean medical professionals led by Kim Woong-han, a professor at Seoul National University Hospital.

In the 1980s, two Korean children were beneficiaries of a similar program arranged by Rotary International.

In 1983, Lee Gil-woo, received free heart surgery in New York. Lee, who was 4 at the time, traveled with then-US first lady Nancy Reagan on her personal jet as she made her return trip home following a visit to South Korea with her husband.

According to UNICEF, some 80 percent of premature deaths from heart disease and strokes could be avoided. As the treatment can be expensive, however, a child in poverty with an unhealthy heart is extremely vulnerable and at risk of early death.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)