15 to undergo free heart surgery

KIGALI - A team of 42 medical experts from Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, on Sunday began carrying out operations on 15 people suffering from rheumatic heart disease.
Rwanda Heart Foundation Chairman Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi (File Photo)
Rwanda Heart Foundation Chairman Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi (File Photo)

KIGALI - A team of 42 medical experts from Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, on Sunday began carrying out operations on 15 people suffering from rheumatic heart disease.

The operations are taking place at King Faisal Hospital (KFH), the national referral health facility in Kigali.

According to Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi, a paediatric cardiologist at KFH and president of the Rwanda Heart Foundation (RHF), the patients who were selected randomly from various hospitals across the country will undergo free open heart surgery.

“This is the third time that this group, Team Heart, is visiting the country for the same cause. They are experts in several fields and they intend to complete these surgeries within one week,” he said.

“The patients are aged between 15 and 31, most of whom are women,” he added.

The cardiologist noted that these are expensive surgeries that the team has offered to perform for free citing that the visiting group is paying for their own air tickets while government covers their local costs and accommodation.

In October last year, free operations were carried out on 24 children while in February this year, 16 more people received the same services.

Medical officials say that such services would have cost about $20,000 each abroad hence commending the visiting teams that include surgeons, nurses, anaesthetists and experts in the Intensive Care Unit who voluntarily carry out the operations.

Other teams that often visit the country for the same cause include the Chain of Hope group from Belgium, Operation Open Heart, an Australian organization and the Spokane team from the US. 

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