180 thousand children between the ages of six and ten will receive heart scans as part of the Little Hearts Project in nine cities in Southeastern Anatolia. The scans will be conducted in primary schools located in Adıyaman, Batman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Siirt, and Şırnak
The Little Hearts project, aiming to achieve healthier generations through early diagnosis and treatment of childhood cardiovascular conditions has commenced in Gaziantep. Little Hearts project is a social responsibility project carried by Ministry of Development GAP Region Development Administration, Turkish Heart Foundation and Philips Turkey. The protocol for the project was signed in a ceremony held in Gaziantep Hasan Kalyoncu University Culture and Congress Center, with the attendance of Cevdet Yılmaz, Minister of Development of the Republic of Turkey; Ali Yerlikaya, Governor of Gaziantep; Sadrettin Karahocagil, President of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Administration; Prof. Dr. Mehmet Yavuz Coşkun, Rector of Gaziantep University; Semiramis Sekban, Chairperson of the Turkish Heart Foundation and Esen Tümer, General Manager at Philips Healthcare Turkey. After providing information about the scope of the project, the officials took part in the heart scans conducted in Gaziantep Pakize Kemal Öğücü Primary School.
The public, NGO and private sector join forces for children “I want to say thanks to Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Administration, Turkish Heart Foundation for technic support, Philips Turkey for device support that are the partners of Little Hearts Project. The purposes of the project are to contribute to bringing up healthy generations through early diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disorders, to contribute to poverty reduction through children’s access to preventive health services, to decrease the development gap between regions through the empowerment of children, to contribute to the solution of health-related problems through cooperation between the public sector, civil society and the private sector. Project would be carried by Ministry of Development GAP Region Development Administration, Governor’s Offices and universities of the provinces included in the GAP Region” Cevdet Yılmaz, Minister of Development of the Republic of Turkey said.
20 thousand little heart would be scanned in Gaziantep
Sadrettin Karahocagil, President of the GAP Administration, stressed the importance of the Little Hearts project for Southeastern Anatolia, and said: “Today, the public, NGO and private sector are united in a joint effort to improve the welfare of all, and create a more livable world for children. Through this project, we aim to protect the hearts of our children, the future of our country, through early diagnosis and treatment. We believe this project will serve as an example, as well as raise awareness about heart health. The project commenced today in Gaziantep Pakize Kemal Öğücü Primary School. It will involve children in the first to fourth grade in primary schools located in economically-challenged neighborhoods, and will also include awareness-raising activities and training programs oriented towards parents. Within the scope of the project, a total of 40 thousand children will receive health scans in 2015 and 2016, with 20 thousand children in Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa each.”
14 thousand children born with heart conditions every year
Esen Tümer, General Manager at Philips Healthcare Turkey, noted the prevalence of cardiovascular heart disorders in the young population of Turkey as the highest in all of Europe, and stressed the significance of congenital heart disorders among the most common health issues affecting children. Noting that an estimated 13 to 14 thousand children are born with congenital heart disorders every year in Turkey, Esen Tümer added that such children were often unable to receive adequate medical attention, and that they were aiming to overcome this challenge through the project. Expressing the project’s goal of offering health scans to 180 thousand children in Adıyaman, Batman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Kilis, Mardin, Siirt, Şanlıurfa and Şırnak, Esen Tümer added: “By 2025, Philips’ mission is to improve 3 billion people’s lives every year. In 2014, we have managed to reach 1.9 billion people. In accordance with this purpose Philips founded The Philips Foundation in 2014. It is an independent charity with the mission of improving people’s lives in disadvantaged and underserved communities. The Little Hearts project is being supported by Philips Turkey and the Philips Foundation as its first community project in Turkey. This project with the Ministry of Development, GAP Region Development Administration and Turkish Heart Foundation is so unique, together we can bring the best of our unique expertise to ensure the cardiac care of 180.000 children. Children are our future, and we take great pride and delight in being able to touch the lives of our young, and protect them through this social responsibility project, the Little Hearts” Esen Tümer said.
Approximately 3 million people suffer from heart conditions
Semiramis Sekban, Chairperson of the Turkish Heart Foundation, one of the project’s partners, noted that in Turkey, approximately 200 thousand people die of cardiovascular diseases every year. “There are an estimated 2.8 million people with cardiovascular disorders in our country. Each year, approximately 250 thousand people develop cardiovascular diseases, and 160 thousand die of cardiovascular- related causes. Children make up about 40 percent of the population, a fact that served as a starting point for the project,” Semiramis Sekban said.