An Israeli charity dedicated to helping children with heart disease in developing countries has won the 2018 United Nations Population Award.

Since it was founded in 1995, Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), based at Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, has carried out almost 4,800 life-saving surgeries on children from 56 countries and trained 117 doctors and clinicians.

Many of the children come from Gaza, the Palestinian Authority, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The non-profit organisation performs the operations free of charge, while staff donate their time and other expenses are covered by fundraisers and benefactors from around the world.

Each year, the Committee for the UN Population Award honours an individual or institution in recognition of outstanding contributions to issues of population and reproductive health and to their solutions.

Dr Lior Sasson

In February, lead surgeon Dr Lior Sasson was honoured at Jewish News’ Night of Heroes with the Israel Hero Award.

SACH trustee David Silverston said: “This, together with Dr Lior Sasson’s recent award, is the highest recognition of the outstanding lifesaving work being carried out by SACH and one that every Jew and Israeli can take pride in.

“These awards really do justify our slogan of “mending hearts, building bridges”.