Naya Ali El Jawhari was born in Hermel, Lebanon, a town in the far North East corner of the country, near the border with Syria, and these days, the target of airstrikes and bombings. When Naya was born, doctors told her parents she had Patent ductus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect in which a fetal blood vessel fails to close after birth. She needed lifesaving cardiac surgery, but the cost was prohibitive for her family.

While the Lebanese Ministry of Health agreed to cover most of the cost of her surgery, her family still needed $5,000. The Lebanese American University Medical Center – Rizk Hospital was determined to help.

Thanks to a grant from a private donor, the hospital was able to provide the money and give Naya the surgery she needed.

While Rizk Hospital was established more than 80 years ago, the university purchased it in 2009. It now serves as the primary teaching hospital for LAU’s schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. In 2014, LAUMC-RH received a $1.3 million grant from American Schools and Hospitals Abroad, an office of USAID, for equipment to improve the hospital’s ability to treat trauma patients.  Thanks to that grant, the hospital was able to upgrade operating rooms and purchase new trauma equipment, both of which contributed to Naya’s successful surgery.

Naya is now two years old, has fully and successfully recovered and will have a normal childhood.