Washington, Aug. 8 - An Israel-based organization is using the country’s medical expertise to cure children from developing countries, including some currently participating on The Israel Project’s (TIP) fact-finding mission in Israel.
Five of the 19 ambassadors currently on a TIP-sponsored fact-finding mission come from countries whose children are being cured by Save a Child’s Heart. The countries are Burkina Faso, Haiti, Liberia, Trinidad and Tobago and Uganda.
Save a Child’s Heart, founded in 1995 by Israeli-American surgeon Dr. Ami Cohen, brings children with congenital heart defects to the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel for treatment. The center is based in Holon, a city southeast of Tel Aviv.
In its 15 years of existence, the group has treated 2,639 children, including one from Burkina Faso, six from Haiti, two from Liberia, one from Trinidad and Tobago, and five from Uganda. Palestinian children who hail from either the West Bank or Gaza compromise the group’s single largest demographic, with more than 1,300 children from those areas treated at the Wolfson Center.
Many of the children treated by Save a Child’s Heart from Haiti - whose ambassador to the U.S., Louis Joseph, is participating in the TIP Ambassador’s Mission - were discovered by the Israeli relief team sent there after the devastating earthquake, Executive Director of Save a Child’s Heart Foundation David Litwack said.
The group has won widespread acclaim for its work, including the prestigious “National Friendship Medal” from the government of China in 2010.
Litwack said his group’s humanitarian assistance is helping to highlight the possibilities of future assistance to - and better understanding with - developing countries and those that don’t recognize Israel’s existence. For example, 149 Iraqi children with heart defects have received surgery through Save a Child’s Heart, he said.
“We definitely believe we’re having an impact on Israel’s image in these countries,” Litwack said.