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Vidant Medical Center and Samaritan’s Purse join forces to provide life-saving surgery for Ugandan children

November, 30, 2016 by Beth Anne Atkins

GREENVILLE, N.C—Two young boys from Uganda now have hope for a better future thanks to the life-saving, open-heart surgeries they received at Vidant Medical Center in late October.

Four-year-old Daniel Ambikiire and 3-year-old Elijah Sebuliba, who were both suffering from congenital heart defects, arrived in Greenville in mid-October with their mothers and an interpreter. The critical heart procedures they needed were not available in Uganda, so Samaritan’s Purse’s Children’s Heart Project arranged for them to travel to the United States to receive care. The organization also coordinated a host family to provide them with a loving home during their time in Greenville.

Dr. Charlie Sang, a pediatric cardiologist with the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, performed the pre-surgery medical evaluations and post-operative care of the children. ECU pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Koh Takeuchi performed both successful surgeries. Dr. Jasper Lewis of Greenville provided dental exams and treatment before surgery to prevent infectious complications post-surgery. Eastern Radiologists and East Carolina Anesthesia Associates also donated care. Media Event Time: Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 10:30 a.m.

Location: James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at Vidant Medical Center
Interview Opportunities:

  • Dr. Charlie Sang
  • The Ugandan children and their mothers
  • Cindy Bonsall, director of Children’s Heart Project
  • Sheena Basemera, former Children’s Heart Project recipient

In 2004, a then 15-year-old Sheena Basemera traveled from Uganda to the United States for a cardiac procedure to close a hole in her heart. Now an adult, she recently moved to Boone to join the Children’s Heart Project staff at Samaritan’s Purse. She knows these two families from Uganda well, and can share a unique perspective on the significance of this trip and the medical care these two young boys received.

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