Several advocates for the care of children with heart defects from around the globe joined together in Geneva, Switzerland last month at the 11th Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, including Heart Healers own Dr. Craig Sable. Today, we’re sharing with you some highlights that Dr. Sable took from the Forum Meeting so you can better understand the desperation that makes our mission necessary and what kind of impact Heart Healers makes on the cardiac community.
Who’s With Us
It’s inspiring that so many individuals, hospitals, non-profit organizations and industry foundations are committed to helping us continue to close the gap between children in undeveloped countries receiving the proper cardiac care they need and deserve. Here are some of the other organizations that were present at the Global Forum, all who also have a heart for saving the hearts of children. Be sure to check them out and learn more about their specific mission and focus.
- Global Heart Network Foundation
- Children’s HeartLink
- International Children’s Heart Foundation
- Surgeons of Hope
- Patrons of the Hearts
- CardioStart International
The Brutal Truth
Heart defects are the most common birth defect, occurring in 1% of all children; with either surgery or heart catheterization, many children with heart problems will have a normal life expectancy and quality of life – in 2015, survival after heart surgery in children is close to 98%.
Unfortunately, only 7% of the world’s population has access to corrective heart treatment that is available in developed countries; sub-Saharan Africa is the worst off.
- In North America, 1 cardiac center caters to a population of 120,000.
- In Asia, the ratio is 1 to 16 million.
- In Africa, 1 to 33 million.
Without treatment, these children will become progressively sicker and are unlikely to survive into adulthood; many will die before 5 years of age. There are nearly 6 million children worldwide with potentially treatable congenital and acquired heart defects that do not have access to care.
In many countries, the only option for children in need of open-heart surgery is to go abroad; in most cases at a cost that is not affordable to the family of the child. Some hospitals in India provide high quality open-heart surgery for $8,000 – $12,000; the cost is 5 to 10 times more in the US or Europe! For families in sub-Saharan Africa, who make less than $2 per day, overcoming that financial burden is impossible.
There is hope!
Many NGO’s like Heart Healers International are working and collaborating to change the face of congenital heart care around the globe by sending children abroad, visiting surgical mission trips, and most importantly, working with local medical teams and governments to build sustainable heart centers.