Rotary International offers free heart surgery to 50 children in Seychelles


Shekhar Mehta (left) made the statement to reporters after meeting Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House. (Nation of Seychelles)

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(Seychelles News Agency) – Rotary International offered free heart surgery to 50 children in Seychelles as part of its “Gift of Life” program, the organization’s president said on Tuesday.

Shekhar Mehta made the statement to reporters after meeting Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House.

the Gift of Life Program of Rotary International started in 1975 with the main purpose of helping needy children who need corrective heart surgery to give them another breath of life.

Mehta, the first president of Rotary International to visit Seychelles in 53 years, said the children will undergo their operations in a city in India.

Seychelles provides free universal health care to its citizens and the government pays for treatment abroad for those unable to receive treatment at local health facilities. Although there is an increase in specialist treatments in the island nation, some procedures performed by specialists are not available locally.

The organization will also provide surgeons to perform eye surgeries for those in need of the service in the western Indian Ocean island nation.

“Doctors will be able to come here to perform cataract operations on children or adults. If this can be done, the whole backlog can be taken care of,” he said.

Another help that Rotary will provide to the health sector is the training of Seychellois practitioners.

During his meeting with Ramkalawan, Mehta also said that his organization has come up with audio-visual content for use in schools so that “children don’t just study from the books, but see and hear what they are studying”.

Mehta is in Seychelles as part of his global visit as president of Rotary International “Meeting Rotarians in every country trying to inspire them to do more work and more humanitarian work.

Before meeting Ramkalawan, Mehta planted a coco de mer plant in the famous botanical garden. Coco de mer, the heaviest nut in the world, is endemic to the Seychelles and grows naturally on Praslin and Curieuse islands.

Mehta also revealed that Rotary International will undertake mangrove planting initiatives in the Seychelles.

Rotary is a global organization of more than 1.2 million businesses, professionals and community leaders. There are more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographic areas. The clubs are not affiliated with any religion or political party and provide voluntary service and humanitarian support.

Seychelles with a population of nearly 100,000 has two Rotary Clubs and these are the Rotary Club of Victoria and the Rotary Club of Victoria-Coco de mer.

The island nation is part of District 9220 along with five other countries: Mauritius, Reunion, Mayotte, Comoros and Djibouti.

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