With no access to local cardiac surgery, young people in Timor-Leste face disability and premature death from treatable and often preventable heart conditions.

As Australia’s only medical NGO dedicated to providing life-saving heart surgery for young people from Timor-Leste, we assist patients with a variety of serious heart conditions.

Our patients often need relatively simple procedures to correct conditions that are the legacy of childhood rheumatic fever, a disease largely eradicated in the west.

While Timor-Leste’s health system is improving all the time, a lack of specialist medical facilities means overseas surgery is often the only option.

We provide surgery for the most critical cases in Australia and Timor-Leste, while working with our partners to tackle the root causes of poor heart health in Timor-Leste, through research, prevention and education projects.

Nelsia’s Story

Every patient is special. But some truly capture our hearts. Three-year-old Nelsia is one of them.

Though her condition left her tired and breathless, Nelsia has a beautiful smile for everyone who meets her. Born with congenital heart disease, Nelsia’s early childhood was marked by poor health and low energy.

In March 2018, as part of Operation GoodHearts paediatric surgical mission, Nelsia received life-saving surgery to repair the hole in her heart. She is now able to enjoy a normal childhood, playing with her friends and siblings – always with that contagious smile on her face.

Without the surgery, Nelsia’s smile would have been extinguished and her life cut short. Now, her parents are excited for her future and are hopeful she will experience good health and go to school.

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