Three nursing students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) are to be the first of dozens travelling to India to care for babies who have undergone life-saving heart surgery.
Terri Flounders, Laura Ashcroft and Pippa Carr will be the first of up to 40 students a year who will make overseas trips to work with the Leicester-based charity Healing Little Hearts.
Healing Little Hearts was founded in 2007 by Dr Sanjiv Nichani to provide free heart surgery to babies and children in India. Every two minutes in India a baby is born in need of a heart operation and the majority do not receive treatment because there is no equivalent of the NHS.
The charity has amassed donations that has allowed its medical team to perform 1,456 life-saving operations to date and an average of 250 children are treated each year. The charity is also now running heart camps in Malaysia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mauritius.
This week DMU signed a partnership with the charity which will see nursing students travelling to these countries to provide essential aftercare for the babies.
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DMU is also paying for two overseas heart surgery camps – one in 2019 and one in 2020 – to ensure even more children’s lives are saved by the charity.
A third strand to the partnership will see Photography and Video students running publicity campaigns in several countries to spread the word about Healing Little Hearts. They will travel with the nurses to Vijayawada, South East India, to document the charity’s work this November.
Third year paediatric nursing student Terri said: “I am so excited about helping Healing Little Hearts, although a little anxious as well. I really think I will come back a completely different person. It is going to be an eye opener. I have a son and if anything ever went wrong I could take him to hospital and he would receive the care he needed for free.
“This does not happen in India. I think it will give us a massive reality check.”
Fellow student Pippa added: “It is going to be such a valuable experience working with so many highly skilled medics. We are also going to be working in a highly pressurised environment caring for critically ill children. It will certainly test us.”
Student Laura said: “I think it will be an experience we will never forget. We would never be able to do something like this without DMU. It will be so rewarding.
“We have all done surgical placements in the operating theatre so we are used to treating very small children but it is still difficult caring for such little people. We already appreciated the NHS. This makes us appreciate it even more.”
Healing Little Heart’s Dr Nichani is delighted to have signed a partnership with DMU. He said: “There are one million children in the 21st century dying of heart disease. These children need our help.
“I am so pleased to be working with DMU. It fits in with the university’s work with the UN, DMU Square Mile India and #LoveInternational. What I hope is the nursing students have an incredibly rewarding experience and at the same time, with the help of the Photography and Video students, we can highlight the work we do and get the message out there.
“It gives Healing Little Hearts huge kudos because DMU is such a highly regarded university and our association with DMU will again help get the message out there that we need to help these children.”
Second year Photography and Video student Bethany Moody will be making the trip to India as part of the media crew.
She said: “I always wanted to work with a charity. Charity work is something I am passionate about. The fact I get to do this work with my university is incredible.
“We get to be in the position of being able to tell these nurses’ stories and ensure people learn more about Healing Little Hearts. It is a privilege to be able to do that.”
Posted on Wednesday 17th October 2018