Malawian boy undergoes successful heart surgery in Israel

Written by  Geoffrey Chinawa

A young man from Mangochi- Lemos Tsatawe - flew back to Malawi recently after undergoing a life-saving heart surgery on September 2 at the Wolfson Medical Center by the volunteer medical team members of Save a Child’s Heart, in Israel.


Tsatawe had been struggling with a heart problem until when an Israel charitable organization known as Save a Childs’s Heart Save that is conducting free lifesaving heart surgery at the Wolfson Medical Centre offered to help him and flew him to Israel where he underwent an operation.

The Israel Embassy in Kenya said in a statement that Lemos’ mother knew that something was wrong with her son early on in his life.

“After he experienced breathlessness, fainting, and persistent stomach pain, she brought him, at four months old, to the local clinic, where she was told that he had a heart issue,” the statement said.


Knowing that Lemos needed help did not mean he would have access to the care he so desperately required. The family was told to wait. They did not know anyone who had suffered from heart disease and had no means of reaching an immediate solution. They waited until they were referred to the largest hospital in Blantyre, Queen Elizabeth.


Lemos’ mother was afraid from the moment she found out her son was ill, but the fear was incomparable to the fear she felt finally hearing that there was nothing that could be done in Malawi to save him.


In their efforts to try to find help for Lemos, they heard news that another former aid worker, Irit Rabinovich from Israel was returning to Malawi for the first time in 15 years. She contacted her on Facebook to ask if she could help.


Lemos was able to live with his symptoms for a large portion of his life, but beginning last year, Lemos’ health began to deteriorate. He could no longer make the 15-minute walk to school and it became increasingly clear that he would die without intervention.


Meanwhile, in Israel, Irit was preparing for her first trip back to Malawi in 15 years. Upon hearing Lemos’s story Irit contacted Save a Child’s Heart and helped the family apply to be accepted for a life-saving procedure in Israel.


"Every day, I would check in the morning if my son was still alive. I could not sleep." The mother of the boy Reshina as quoted in the statement.


Reacting to the good news from Kenya where he is based, the country’s Israeli designate ambassador Obed Joseph said the successful heart surgery of Lemos is the beginning of “some more good fruits” that are to come from the bilateral relations of the Malawi and Israel.


The Israeli government has pledged to continue working with the Malawi government in various sectors of development. He said his country looks forward to continued positive relations with two countries.

“We look forward to continued good relations between the two nations” said Joseph.

Lemos and his mother are back in the country and Lemos have resumed his education. The young boy from the lake side district of Mangochi dreams of playing soccer and wants to play in an elite league back in his village. In his future, he wants to become an engineer.

Get Your Newsletter