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Jessica Opens Her Heart to PNG

Australian popular recording artist Jessica Mauboy has completed a successful visit to Papua New Guinea, raising funds and awareness for both Operation Open Heart and the Orchid Society of Papua New Guinea.

Jessica appeared at a fundraiser hosted by Curtain Brothers (PNG) on Thursday March 22 at which over PGK800,000 was raised for Operation Open Heart.

She then performed at the PNG Orchid Society Gala Dinner at the State Dining Room of PNG Parliament to an audience of around 200 people.

Not only did Jessica win the hearts of the guests and the PNG public but she also opened her heart to Papua New Guinea with her natural warmth and generosity.

“Papua New Guinea is a country with a wonderful future…there is spirit here of wanting to build a brighter tomorrow” Jessica said.

“The Orchid Society is a great team who are very active in raising funds for Operation Open Heart. I visited Port Moresby General Hospital on Friday and saw the impact the funds are having…it really is saving lives”, she added.

A return visit by Jessica to Papua New Guinea in 2012 is already being planned by The Orchid Society of PNG, the Operation Open Heart committee and Air Niugini.

About Operation Heart

Operation Open Heart involves a team of medical and health specialists including surgeons, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, intensive care and operating theatre nurses and technicians who all donate their time, skills, expertise and money to travel from Australia to Papua New Guinea to join forces with their local counterparts to perform cardiac surgery on Papua New Guineans.

The first Operation Open Heart team arrived in Papua New Guinea in 1993.

Over a period of ten days ordinary operating theatres at the Port Moresby General Hospital are transformed into cardiac theatres where approximately 45-50 cardiac operations are performed, mainly on children.

Left untreated it is estimated that one third one third of children suffering congenital heart defects will die before their first birthday. Following successful cardiac surgery, these kids go on to lead active and normal lives.

The cost of this type of surgery alone would be AUD$25,000 per patient if they had to travel overseas. This kind of money is well beyond most Papua New Guineans.

The medical team along with the numerous sponsors of Operation Open Heart make it possible for the surgery to be conducted right here within Papua New Guinea.

It is a huge logistical effort requiring the transport from Australia of more than two tonnes of medical equipment and supplies.

Russell Lee, Project Leader of Operation Open Heart Papua New Guinea, believes the critical legacy that the team leaves behind is the skills that the local medical and nursing teams develop while working side by side with the visiting team, increasing their proficiency in the care that they deliver each day and in turn improving the outcomes for their patients after the Australian team has left.

Operation Open Heart has itself received a new lease of life thanks to the efforts of the Orchid Society of PNG which organizes fund-raising and awareness-raising visits by popular Australian recording artists and we are delighted to have Jessica Mauboy join us in 2012.

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