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A Japanese nongovernmental organization dedicated to medical support for developing countries will launch a project to save Thai children suffering from congenital heart diseases.

Katsuto Kotani, head of Tokyo-based Project HOPE Japan and chairman of Agilent Technologies Japan Ltd., said this week his group will support 100 operations on children diagnosed with heart diseases at Chiang Mai University Hospital over two years.

The group will offer financial aid and donate medical equipment to the hospital, where some 300 children await heart surgery, group officials said.

The cost is expected to reach 30 million yen, which the NGO aims to collect from the government and the Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Associations of Japan, they said.

Some 4,000 Thai children born each year are believed to suffer from various heart diseases, which often make it difficult for them to reach adulthood without surgery.

However, only 1,000 operations are conducted for such children annually due to lack of funds and doctors.

The NGO is a Japanese branch of Project HOPE, an international group providing health education, health policy research and humanitarian assistance in 31 countries.

Nepal scholarships

KATMANDU (Kyodo) Four scholarships offered by the Hashimoto Foundation to Nepalese students were awarded at the Japanese Embassy in Katmandu on Thursday.

Valued at $1,000 each, the annual scholarships were presented to students of Katmandu University by Japanese Ambassador Mitsuaki Kojima.

According to a press release, it was the fourth year the scholarships were given to Nepalese students by the foundation, which was created through contributions made by former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto.

The foundation, which began granting scholarships to Nepalese students in 1998, has so far provided scholarships to 14 students at Katmandu University, the release said.

The Japanese envoy also handed over a check for $1,000 to the Hashimoto Trust Fund at the Kanti Children’s Hospital in Katmandu.

Hashimoto sent the check as a personal donation to the fund created in 1993 at the hospital, the Himalayan kingdom’s only health facility for children.

The fund provides free medical treatment to destitute children and grants awards to hospital staff for outstanding service.

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