Care Beyond BoundariesINQUIRER.net
One world and one love
This is all what we should have
One touch and one heart
Together we’ll build a brand new start
We belong to different races, we all have different faces
Yet the language of love is the same
From a heart that truly cares
Let us break the walls that divide us
Bridge the distance that sets us all apart
We shall care beyond the boundaries
And offer an unconditional love
Beyond the Boundaries
Caring far beyond the boundaries
One hand and One mind
We’ll reach you no matter where you are
We can make a difference
By helping in transforming their lives
We can make a better world
If we only start to care
For we belong to one family
Together we can be
We belong to different races, we all have different faces
Yet the language of love is the same
Cause we all truly care
(Official theme song of DM Healthcare Foundation Philippines /
Original words written by Noel Rubio and Joyce Alumno)
Love is universal. On this hearts’ month, the whole country witnessed the kind of care that could cross thousands of miles to bring hope to those who have less in life. Healthcare – like what medical travel is all about – indeed has crossed all borders and nationalities.
Traveling nine hours from Dubai to Manila for the first time, the Chairman of the biggest healthcare conglomerate in the Middle East, Padma Shri Dr. Azad Moopen, came to Manila with his daughter Alisha and CEO Dr. Sanjiv Malik to launch its “Healing Touch” initiative in the Philippines.
Making dreams come true, however, can be a difficult task. Many times, dreams can only come true when someone comes along, shares in your dream, and travels along with you – on a common journey of care and cooperation.
That exact thing happened when fate, good fortune, or God’s grace, brought together the Filipino children suffering from Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) and their parents, and DM Foundation, on the path of healing, love, and transformation through the “Save the Little Hearts” program where free pediatric cardiac surgeries were given to the children and their families who couldn’t afford it.
The Save the Little Hearts Program provides free heart surgeries to children with CHD—many of the beneficiaries of the program have come from poor families in various Gulf countries in the Middle East and India.
For the first time, DM Healthcare through Dr. Moopen’s Foundation have brought the program outside the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) territories and India, in order to bring the gift of life to Filipino kids suffering from CHD. Dr. Moopen has more than 25 years of experience providing health services to the poor. That is his own lifelong journey that began when he was a young doctor who traveled from India to Dubai, UAE on a medical mission to provide healthcare to Indian workers there.
During that mission, he found out that Dubai and other Middle East countries lacked proper medical care for the people. Dr. Moopen felt the calling to do his part in alleviating the situation: he moved his medical practice from India to Dubai, and became a community doctor. Many of his patients were poor and could not afford to pay for their consultations.
There were so many patients in need that Dr. Moopen had to work long hours to help as many of them as he could. Eventually, Dr. Moopen opened a clinic where he and other doctors could work together to provide healthcare to the ever-growing number of patients.
As the Save the Little Hearts theme song goes, Dr. Moopen’s work—as a Dubai-based, Indian doctor treating patients from various place in the Middle East and Africa—had begun to “break the walls” that divided people of different races, whether rich or poor, and brought them into a common good: quality healthcare at prices that they can afford.
This same result: breaking down walls, bridging distances, and providing patient care beyond boundaries of geography and mindsets—would characterize the work of Dr. Moopen even when he went from being a doctor to an entrepreneur. From that one clinic in Dubai, Dr. Moopen expanded his healthcare services into what it is today: DM Healthcare LLC, the largest healthcare conglomerate in the Middle East, with more than 150 hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, where Filipino employees represent 20% of the workforce.
Care for a better world
In the course of 25 years of growth and expansion of DM Healthcare LLC, during which Dr. Moopen established himself as an iconic figure in Dubai’s healthcare sector, he never lost sight of his principle that healthcare is foremost about the welfare of the patient. “In the healthcare business, profit comes second only to providing quality healthcare. If you provide quality healthcare, profit will come as a bonus,” is what he would usually say.
This is why Dr. Moopen’s Foundation continues to engage in charitable and philanthropic work to provide health services to the poor, side by side with the growth of DM Healthcare for the past 25 years.
The lyrics of the theme song, where it says: “We can make a better world/If we only start to care/For we belong to one family/…We belong to different races/we all have different faces
Yet the language of love is the same/Cause we all truly care” perfectly encapsulate the mission of DM Foundation to bring quality healthcare beyond boundaries to reach more and more people in the world.
This time around, Filipino kids with CHD are at the receiving end of Dr. Moopen’s charitable and humanitarian work. The experience was mutually gratifying and spiritually uplifting on the part of Dr. Moopen, the kids, and the kids’ parents.
Hearts mended, lives healed.
Among the recipients of a free heart surgery from Dr. Moopen’s Foundation is four-year-old Nathalie from Legaspi City in Albay. At two months old, Nathalie was diagnosed a congenital heart defect (CHD), known as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a potentially fatal condition resulting when a blood vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the aortic arch fails to close.
Nathalie’s heart surgery was done at the Philippine General Hospital under the sponsorship of Dr. Moopen’s Foundation on February 11. The surgeon implanted a device that closed the hole in the blood vessel in her heart, restoring the organ’s normal function. On the same day, another Save the Little Hearts recipient, 16-year-old Danica from Muntinlupa, also received surgery for a similar condition also at the PGH.
Two days later, Nathalie and Danica had recovered and were well enough to attend the “Save the Little Hearts” launch event at the Makati Shangri-La hotel. Nathalie even recited a poem to express here gratitude to her sponsors.Nathalie’s and Danica’s hearts were mended thanks to Facebook campaign called “1 Like, 1 Heart to Save” which was being undertaken on the Official Save the Little Hearts Page created by DM Foundation. The DM Foundation began its Save the Little Hearts Facebook campaign on January 23, 2013. For every Like on the STLH Official Facebook page, the DM Foundation pledges to give P100 to fund free heart surgeries for Filipino children with CHD.
On February 13th, Dr. Moopen announced at the Shangri-La Hotel that because of the overwhelming support of Filipino Facebook users to the “1 Like, 1 Heart to Save” campaign, his Foundation would be providing free heart surgeries to fifty Filipino children with CHD—a donation that goes way beyond the amount raised by the Facebook campaign (which was about P700,000 as of that day.).
Zeal and gratitude
Dr. Sanjiv Malik, DM Healthcare’s CEO for hospitals and medical centers, who has been assisting the Philippines in many fronts on healthcare and medical travel since he first got invited to a conference hosted by the Philippines’ Department of Tourism in 2008, has these words to say: “You must thank the thousands of Filipino healthcare professionals working in the DM Healthcare group across the GCC. It is because of their devotion and commitment to care at their workplace that we are here. This is our way of giving back to their country.”
In his speech at the launch, Dr. Moopen shared, “the two days that I spent in your country, was a very moving experience that brought tears to my eyes and made my heart weep. I found that Filipino parents have a truly touching way of expressing their gratitude for our work. You can really feel the emotion, which was both moving and gratifying for me. I think people like us should be doing much more than what we are doing in giving back to the society. As there are people suffering who require our support in many countries that I have seen, in my own country, and then the Philippines, I realized that there is a huge requirement for such care.” he said.
Ms. Moopen was hard-put to describe her feeling during the visit. “Being a mother myself, it was quite an emotional experience for me to meet the children and their parents. No child, really, should have to suffer from any illness. Meeting the children and their parents was really a touching, moving experience that no words can adequately describe,” she said.
Country Representative Joyce Alumno expressed hopes that through the work of the DM Foundation, other individuals and organizations will be moved to help Filipino kids with CHD. “While the Foundation cannot help each and every Filipino child with CHD, we hope that all of us draw inspiration from what we’ve accomplished so we can work together to help heal and transform the lives of more and more of these children,” she said.
The DM Healthcare Foundation office in the Philippines is led by trustees Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, Samie Lim and Joyce Alumno with DOH Undersecretary Ted Herbosa and Dr. Dante Dator in the Advisory Board. They are now evaluating and selecting the rest of the fifty Filipino kids with CHD that would be granted free heart surgeries. The children would be treated either in the Philippines, or if needed, be brought to a DM Healthcare tertiary hospital that specializes in surgeries for CHD.
In a message sent to DM Foundation by President Benigno Aquino III, he said that “this partnership with the government to provide pediatric cardiac surgery to our underprivileged youth will indeed empower them to sustain their vigor and help their families; this charitable venture is a gift that our people will cherish and turn into an opportunity to build better lives.”