•    Mr Sumeet Tappoo - Director of the Sai Prema Foundation & Chairman of Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital.
•    Dr Krupali Tappoo - Director of Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital.
•    Mr Mahendra Tappoo - Chairman & Founding Trustee of the Sai Prema Foundation
•    Trustees, Members and Staff of the Sai Prema Foundation & Children’s Hospital
•    Members of the visiting Surgery Team from the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital from Mumbai, India (I’m told there’s 20 of you altogether)
•    Children and Parents
•    Members of the Media

Ni Sa Bula Vina’a and a very Good Afternoon to you all.

Thank you Mr Sumeet Tapoo, your generous wife Dr Krupali and your hardworking team for the kind invitation extended to my wife Sulu and I, to be with you all, this afternoon.

Your invitation, requesting that I officiate in today’s ‘Gift of Life’ ceremony warms my heart, however, I’m left with a feeling of trepidation because I can’t help thinking about how your young patients and their anxious parents cope during a difficult and traumatic time.
Sulu and I are blessed with seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. I consider our family abundantly blessed because at 74-years, I am still able to engage in a few physical activities with them. 

Congenital heart issues are not new to my family. Infact we can relate to many families who are here today, and have been at the receiving end of concerning news about the health of our very young.

One of my two great grandsons; Dallas was diagnosed with rheumatic heart ailment and every three weeks he gets his injection at the Nuffield Clinic.

Dallas is 4-years old and lives with us in our family home. He is very dear to us. Sulu and I cannot even imagine what our world would be like if his health condition deteriorated to a level that would require surgery.

We count ourselves lucky because so many children present today have had to undergo open heart surgery. 

The Sai Prema Foundation’s intent to build a hospital dedicated to saving the lives of children who live with congenital heart disease is nothing short of a blessing to many families who would never be able to afford open heart surgery abroad.

The Foundation has built and established a state-of-the-art specialist children’s heart hospital which has been recognised by internationally renowned pediatric cardiac surgeons as a facility on par with hospitals in USA, Europe or any of the highly developed countries. 

Thousands of families are grateful for philanthropists like Sumeet, Dr Krupali, Mahend and the Sai Prema Foundation for all that you do to ensure that the gift of life, endowed upon each of us by our Most Loving God flows - freely and unhindered - for our dear children, grand-children and great grand-children.

One hundred free heart surgeries later, and it would be difficult for any of us to imagine a Fiji without the Sai Prema Foundation, and the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital.

Without them, some 25-thousand mothers and their children around the country, would not have been served, nor over 10-ten thousand heart screenings done.

Without good Fijians like the Tappoo Family, we would not have been here today, to celebrate the 100th surgery to be performed here at the hospital. What an achievement!

Congratulations Sumeet, Dr Krupal, Mr Mahen Tappoo, members of the Sai Prema Foundation and staff of the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital.

Our heartfelt vina’a va’alevu as well to the sterling work of Dr Shyamadeep Borgohain, Dr Kikesh Patel, Dr Madhu Mahadeva and your team from the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in Mumbai.

This time around, your life-saving work has extended the Gift of Life to a total of 22 of our children in Fiji.

As I speak, 100 little hearts now beat soundly and effortlessly.

In commending the dedication and expertise of the medical team, as well as the vision of the great ambassadors of Nasigatoka - the Tappoo Family - this Gift of Life ceremony of the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital is the sort of initiative that the People’s Coalition Government encourages and supports.

As many of you know, on its own, the People’s Coalition Government would not be able to cure all that had gone wrong in this country.

Our health system, the state of its infrastructure, the equipment and medicine needed, as well as lifting the working conditions and incentives of our doctors, nurses and health workers require urgent life-saving interventions.

This is why the work of philanthropists like the Tappoo Family are welcomed. 

It is the kind of partnership the Coalition Government will encourage.

By investing $25-milion into this state-of-the art Pediatric Cardiac Super Speciality Hospital, the Sai Prema Foundation compliments our public health system, plagued as it is by crumbling infrastructure and resource limitations together with an overworked and under-compensated work force.

I believe this kind of highly specialised treatment for children could cost more than $100,000.00 in hospitals overseas.

Yet here at the Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital, you will not find a billing counter, for all surgeries and treatment are done completely free of cost.

Summet, Dr Krupali, Mahend and other members of the Sai Prema Foundation, Fiji needs a lot more good people, with big hearts like you.

Already, children in our neighbouring islands in the Pacific are beginning to access life-saving surgery that you perform here at the hospital, through your training centre, equipped with international video conferencing capability.

Your People’s Coalition Government commends the huge self-sacrificing work that you are all doing, and we stand ready to help in any way we can.

In expressing Fiji’s gratitude and appreciation to the Tappoo family; the Sai Prema Foundation, the staff of Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital, as well as the visiting doctors from the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital in Mumbai, I want to conclude by sharing with you a passage from the Holy Bible, as our way of saying vina’a va’alevu.

The Book of Psalms, the 127th Psalms, verses 3, 4 and 5 reads, and this is from the King James Version:

“Children are a heritage of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth.

“Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

May the good Lord continue to bless your heart as you all work tirelessly to repair and restore the many little hearts of our dear children in Fiji and the Pacific.

Vina’a Valevu. Thank You and God Bless.