News Release

Heart Screening Machine Will Help Children Across the South Pacific

Church leaders give gifts to Fiji's children's heart hospital that will bring life and light to youngsters and their families.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated a portable echocardiogram machine and personal solar lights this week in Fiji—gifts that will bring life and light to many children.

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a member of the Pacific Area Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Sister Emily Belle Freeman, Young Women General President, presented a portable echocardiogram machine and “SolarBuddy“ solar lights from the Church to representatives of the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital in Suva, Fiji on Friday, 15 December 2023.

The “heart hospital,” as it is commonly known, provides lifesaving heart surgeries for children in Fiji and from across the South Pacific with no cost to the families.


Elder Wakolo said, “On behalf of the Church, we thank Sai Prema Foundation for your work to bring light and hope to many families and individuals who cannot afford heart surgery.”

He continued, “Your initiative is Christlike. There is no better time to give than during this Christmas season, as we focus on the Saviour Jesus Christ who is the perfect Light. This machine will bring light and life to many sons and daughters of God.”

Dr Krupali Tappoo, Director of Sri Sathya Sanjeevani Fiji, and medical coordinator of the Sai Prema Foundation, said that the foundation’s vision is to conduct widespread screenings throughout Fiji and other South Pacific Islands.”

“Children from Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Christmas Island have received lifesaving surgery at the hospital,” Dr Tappoo said.

The much-needed echocardiogram machine is provided through the donations of members of the Church from across the globe.


President Freeman also presented, on behalf of the Church, a donation of SolarBuddy lights to the hospital. These are portable solar-powered lights, which Australian charity, SolarBuddy, partners with other organisations to deliver to children and youth in communities with limited or no electricity.

She explained about the Church’s worldwide initiative to “Light the World” that aims to bring the light of Jesus Christ to people everywhere throughout the Christmas season.

She explained that youth from Fiji and nearby islands gathered this week to assemble the SolarBuddy lights.

Youth have also “taken the time to write a little note of hope” that will go with each of the lights, President Freeman said.

“Their words of light, peace and encouragement may be a way of bringing hope and happiness to the families who you serve here at this hospital.”

President Freeman continued, “I am sure that you will see families who will take their children home and may not have power and may not be able to see. Sometimes healing requires light. We hope that you will be able to look at families that come into the hospital and see the need of someone who you could give light to, so they can read medicine bottles or see important numbers for a child’s healing.”

Director of Sai Prema Foundation, Mr. Sumeet Tappoo, said, “By coming together we are giving this love and light to the entire region.”

He added, “When we get a call from Nauru, from Tonga, from Kiribati, we can take a flight with the portable echocardiogram machine. We can say ‘yes’ not just from Sai Prema, but we will say ‘yes’ on behalf of the beautiful members of the Church. We will say ‘yes’ on behalf of all of us.”

According to health reports, there are approximately 200 children in Fiji, and 2,500 children across the South Pacific born each year with congenital heart defects.

The echocardiogram machine takes images of a child’s heart and provides information on how the heart is functioning and detects heart defects.

Sai Prema Foundation Fiji is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and a registered charitable organisation under the Charitable Trust Act of Fiji, founded to serve the poor, underprivileged and needy people of Fiji through Medicare, Educare and Sociocare initiatives. The Foundation built the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Children’s Hospital.


In August 2023, on behalf of the Church, Elder Wakolo presented the hospital with an ultrasonic washer and steam sterilizer. The machines are for sterilizing instruments required for all surgeries.

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