Last week on January 21st 2008, Première Urgence employees welcomed 7 Iraqi children returning from a stay in France. The 7 children suffering from different types of severe heart disease were successfully operated in France.
In fact, for the past two years, Première Urgence and La Chaîne de l’Espoir (LCDE), a French NGO, implemented a medical evacuation program in order to allow Iraqi children who suffer from heart diseases (and not operable in their own country) to be treated in France. Each cycle of medical evacuation, treatment and return back home takes about 3 months in order to secure the follow-up of the intervention.
The Premiere Urgence medical team in Iraq selects children according to criteria defined by the LCDE (i.e. children between 4 and 15, suffering from a disease that can be treated via a chirurgical intervention). In addition agreements are signed with the respective families and the Iraqi Ministry of Health. The selected children are then evacuated to Amman where LCDE takes them in charge. The LCDE secures transportation to Paris, hospital care in France and provides each child with a French host family. The hospitals are located in the cities of Paris, Nantes and Toulouse.
This program started in 2006. Until today the latter allowed 65 children to be evacuated. For 2008, we plan to evacuate approximately 35 children.
Abdel, Mohammed, Rumetha, Murthada, Hawroa, Lafta and Saif, are now back home, in a good shape. Some of them took advantage of their stay in France to learn French.