More free heart surgeries planned

A team of medical experts from Team Heart, Boston, in the United States, are expected in the country to conduct free open heart surgeries on 15 people.
Campaign-drives-like-periodic-testing-for-heart-complications-will-reduce-cardiac-cases-according-to-Dr-Joseph-Mucumbitsi-of-Heart-Foundation
Campaign-drives-like-periodic-testing-for-heart-complications-will-reduce-cardiac-cases-according-to-Dr-Joseph-Mucumbitsi-of-Heart-Foundation

A team of medical experts from Team Heart, Boston, in the United States, are expected in the country to conduct free open heart surgeries on 15 people.

The operations will be conducted at King Faisal Hospital (KFH), the main national referral health facility.

Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi, the president of Rwanda Heart Foundation (RHF), said the operations, set for February 2012, will correct cases of the rheumatic heart disease.

Team Heart is an organization that brings together volunteers from medicine, nursing, perfusion, respiratory therapy and a wide range of non-clinical positions.

Mucumbitsi said the majority of the volunteers were affiliated to Harvard Medical School, and that their cardiac surgery and cardiology programmes were highly rated in the US.

“During this period, the team will replace or diagnose heart valves of the 15 patients, who will be selected, randomly, from more than 100 patients list awaiting from various health facilities in the country.”

He added that the experts will pay for their air tickets and transport the necessary equipment.

“The Ministry of Health will only cover their accommodation and local transport costs,” Mucumbitsi said.

A month ago, similar operations were conducted on 27 children between four months and 16 years, with congenital heart diseases.

“This time round adults will be included as well,” said Mucumbitsi.

Medical experts say that such services would have cost at least $20,000 for one case, abroad.

Rheumatic condition is a preventable disease and RHF has embarked on a public awareness campaign on how to avoid such diseases, he added.

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

Statistics show that about 280 Rwandans with cardiac disease have already benefited from the national cardiac surgery and catherization programme since its inception in 2006.

godfreyntagungira@newtimes.co.rw

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