On #WorldHeartDay, we share the latest on EMERGENCY’s approach to Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD). A sustainable model, showing that it is possible and right to provide free, quality surgery and care to everyone in need
In October, Luca, Coordinator of our regional cardiac surgery programme, and Maria, a long-standing cardiologist at EMERGENCY, were in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, for the first heart-screening misson at the new clinic at Orotta Hospital, the only public referral centre in the whole country.
Our Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, in Sudan, has been welcoming patients from 30 countries for 12 years. It offers free cardiac surgery to people with heart diseases, both congenital and acquired. Our staff often go on screening missions in countries outside Sudan, at EMERGENCY or government healthcare facilities, to find patients who need to be admitted in Khartoum for surgery.
‘We’ve always gone on a lot of screening missions in Eritrea,’ Luca, now back from the mission, explains. ‘After Ethiopia, Eritrea is the second most common country of origin for the patients we operate on in Khartoum. Since we began the Regional Programme in 2007, 180 patients have been transferred to and operated on at the Salam Centre in Eritrea. Their average age was 29. It was partly because of this that we decided to strengthen our work in the country, by opening the cardiac clinic at Orotta Hospital, where services will include checks for coagulation and prescriptions for anticoagulation therapy. This will mean not only surgical operations but also continuous post-operative check-ups and medicine for Eritrean patients who have had operations at the Salam Centre.
‘We’re very happy with this achievement in the Regional Programme, because once again we’re meeting the aim we set ourselves right at the start of the project, namely strenghtening relationships with the ministries of health in other countries, to realise the right to treatment for as many people as possible.’