As Mukhammadzhon Shokirov spent part of yesterday morning munching on nuts, riding a toy horse, and otherwise playing on a Middleton Township patio, only the blue coloring of the toddler's fingertips gave a hint of his fragile health.
The nearly 3-year-old boy from Tajikistan, nicknamed "Muha," has a hole between his heart's ventricles and other defects requiring surgical repair, which also would eliminate oxygen-poor blood from being pumped into his body - and the corresponding blue fingertips.
Since such medical care is not available in his impoverished Central Asian country, ISOH/IMPACT brought him and his Russian-speaking mother, Zamira Shokirov, to the Toledo area for a few months of treatment and rehabilitation.
Muha and another Tajik with a heart defect, Minira Khayrulina, 2, arrived at the nonprofit organization's Children's LightHouse in Wood County's Middleton Township this week after a 24-hour flight.
The boy and girl, who also has a hole in her heart that should be easier to repair than Muha's, need to have their defects taken care of at a young age before complications increase, said Linda Greene, president and chief executive of ISOH/IMPACT, which coordinates donated health care and overseas visits by medical teams.
Muha and Minira were examined yesterday by Toledo medical personnel, including pediatric cardiologist Dr. William Suarez.
Muha may need to stay up to six months, while Minira should be able to go home in a couple of months, Mrs. Greene said.
Dr. Nasima Dodikhudoeva, the Tajik physician who works with ISOH/IMPACT and accompanied the children, said Muha has a congenital defect called tetralogy of fallot and various related problems.
"His aorta is not on the right side," she added.
While here, Dr. Dodikhudoeva will consult with American doctors as well as select medical supplies and other items ISOH/IMPACT recently received governmental permission to donate. This is her fourth trip to the Toledo area, she said.
Mrs. Greene said she started working with Tajik medical personnel after visiting the war-torn country in 1994 and witnessing the conditions there.
Since 1994, the organization has hosted nearly 30 children from Tajikistan and neighboring Afghanistan who live there, including seven staying at Children's LightHouse and two more expected soon, she said.
ISOH/IMPACT, which was formerly known as International Services of Hope & Impact With God Crusades Inc., next plans to send a team of primary-care physicians and perhaps a surgeon to Tajikistan, Mrs. Greene said.
Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: