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
Medicine, Human Rights, Equality.
Dr Stefano may be pictured leaning up against these words, but they mean so much more than just paint on a wall. Dr Stefano embodies these words, he upholds them, and he brings them to life in his boundless care for others. This compassion has taken him to many places, and this time it’ s to Uganda.
Dr Stefano is a cardiologist. He normally works at Careggi Hospital in Florence, Italy, but he’s not new to extended periods of working with EMERGENCY. After his stay at our Salam Centre in Sudan, he ended up becoming a pillar of EMERGENCY’s cardiac screening team under the Regional Programme. From Djibouti to Sierra Leone to the Central African Republic to name just a few, Dr Stefano has spent time with many different teams. And, in the last year, his call to leave no-one behind has been as powerful as ever, despite the struggles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last November, Dr Stefano chose to spend his annual vacations to accompany a wider team of EMERGENCY medics to spend time at the Uganda Heart Institute in Kampala. The group’s mission was to follow up with patients that had been treated at the Salam Centre in Khartoum in the years since it opened. Dr Stefano is the kind of person who never holds back, having had a big impact on EMERGENCY’s mission across the African continent in the search for and treatment of people with rheumatic heart diseases. Between 23 and 28 November, he visited 115 post-operation patients, while also identifying six new cases of cardiovascular disease to refer to our hospital in Khartoum.
Dr Stefano never gets tired of being with patients, and his commitment to rejecting health-related discrimination embodies EMERGENCY’s vision: every day we choose to leave nobody behind. By moving beyond the concept of medicine as a one-time, quick fix, we can help build a healthcare model in which access to treatment as a human right is ensured, no matter where, no matter what.
Before flying to Kampala, Dr Stefano took these photos at the Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe. He was among the first to enter the hospital as clinical activities had not yet started at the time. Today, we are glad to say that the hospital is open, beginning the next chapter in EMERGENCY’s African Network of Medical Excellence.