Sanusey lives with his family in a small town south of the capital of Gambia, the smallest country on the African continent. At the age of three months, doctors diagnosed him with a severe heart defect. After three years of regular trips to the local hospital, doctors there began searching for expertise from abroad to save Sanusey’s life. They found that expertise in Israel.
Sanusey arrived in Israel last month along with three other children from the Islamic Republic of Gambia to undergo life-saving heart surgery courtesy of the Israeli NGO Save a Child’s Heart. The British Jewish Federation in cooperation with Israeli Ambassador to Senegal Paul Hirshon, who is responsible for relations with Gambia, connected the children and their families with this wonderful organization.
Four-year-old Sanusey marked a milestone for Save a Child’s Heart, being the 4,000th child that the organization has connected with Israeli doctors for successful life-saving heart surgery. Many of those children have come from Africa and the Arab Middle East.
Given the complicated nature of Sanusey’s condition, his treatment was at times harrowing for both doctors and the little boy’s family.
After arriving at Ben Gurion Airport with his big sister, Panda, Sanusey was taken to Wolfson Medical Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon for preliminary tests. Shortly after, his condition deteriorated severely. Within minutes, the medical staff stabilized little Sanusey and rushed him into emergency surgery, where Dr. Lior Sasson and his operating staff worked for hours to save the boy’s life.
Panda was left to sit, cry and pray for her brother. Those prayers were answered, and just three days after surgery, Sanusey was sitting up in bed and smiling. Today, he is recovering with other children from around the world at the Save a Child’s Heart center in Holon.
A further three children from Gambia recently arrived in Israel for heart surgery, and Ambassador Hirshon has arranged for a number of doctors from the African nation to visit Israel and gain the knowhow to provide more advanced care at home.