PHNOM PENH, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing China-Cambodia Love Heart Journey project has not only saved the lives of dozens of Cambodian children with congenital heart disease (CHD), but also bridged hearts of peoples of the two countries.
Launched in January 2018, the China-aided project aimed to provide 150 Cambodian children who have CHD with free surgery or treatment at the Fuwai Yunnan Cardiovascular Hospital in Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Chea Monyrith, the manager of the CHD project in Cambodia, said his team has assisted the Chinese medical team to carry out checks for more than 53,000 school children in 12 cities and provinces for CHD.
"According to a study and based on this figure, one out of 1,000 children in Cambodia has congenital heart disease," he told Xinhua after an experience-sharing seminar on CHD on Friday.
"Eighty-seven children, sent to China for treatment, had returned to Cambodia with pretty good health," he said.
Tou Tang, 14, who had his congenital heart defects operated successfully by Chinese doctors in 2019, said the project has brought him new life and hope.
"Now, I can play sports and have no shortness of breath like before," the ninth-grade student from Ratanakiri province said. "I want to be a doctor in the future because the doctors had helped me and I want to save other children when I grow up."
Pich Chanthy, the 68-year-old mother of Tou Tang, said the project has offered a ray of hope for her family.
"I'm very poor and the house I live with my son is as small as a bed," the single mother said. "Without China's help, I could not afford to send him for the surgery."
Tep Ngorn, 2nd Vice President of the Senate of Cambodia, showed his heartfelt thanks to China for supporting the project, saying that it was very important to save lives of children with CHD from birth.
"On behalf of the Senate of Cambodia and myself, I'd like to express my profound gratitude to the Chinese government for paying attention to improving the well-being of Cambodian people, especially children with heart disease from birth," he said.
Saing Sophy, the mother of an eight-year-old girl who had CHD from birth and received surgery in 2019, said her daughter is now pretty healthy.
She said during her trip to China for her daughter's surgery, China had covered all of their expenses, including air tickets, food, accommodation and surgery cost.
"This is a humanitarian gesture that Chinese doctors have left in my mind forever," she said. "If there was no aid from China, my daughter and other 87 children would be unhealthy."
Sok Phang, head of the Children's Cardiac Ward at the Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh, said the project has not only changed the lives of children with CHD, but also improved knowledge and expertise for Cambodian doctors in diagnosing and treating children with CHD.
"Today, I'm really happy to see the smiles of 87 children who have recovered from the congenital heart disease after receiving surgery and treatment in China," he said.
Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian said China is very pleased to see the smiles of these children again and hopes that they will also be valuable assets for the country when they grow up.
"I strongly believe that children with congenital heart disease, who have benefited from this project, will become the messengers of China-Cambodia friendship in the future," he said.