Mission: Ethiopia

Mission Facts

  • Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • Population: 3,385,000

  • Dates: 06/25/2017 - 07/02/2017

  • Surgeons: Dr. David Ferry

  • Focus: Cardiac/Interventional Cath Surgeries

  • Complexity: Very High

  • Training: Medium

  • Average Mended: 30

  • Partners: Ethiopian Family Fund, Save A Child's Heart, The Children's Heart Fund of Ethiopia, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical


Mission Brief

Where in the World
Bordered by Eritrea to the north, Somalia and Djibouti to the east and Sudan and South Sudan to the west, Ethiopia is believed to be the birthplace of man and where, Lucy, the oldest human fossil, was found. More importantly, Ethiopia is a country of nearly 85 million without any comprehensive heart care program. This is a land where 1 in 100 children suffer from some form of congenital heart defect.

In Ethiopia, there are physicians capable of diagnosing basic heart problems in children, but unlike any major city in the U.S. and Europe, there is absolutely no congenital heart program. There are only 19 anesthesiologists in the entire country. The vast majority of children with heart problems in Ethiopia have no hope to live anything close to a normal life, and are destined to live a shortened life punctuated by repetitive illnesses.

Healthcare in Ethiopia
Although urban areas of Ethiopia have hospitals with full-time staff and physicians, 4/5 of Ethiopians live in rural areas and lack access to healthcare facilities. There is less than 1 physician for every 10,000 people. Besides a shortage of infrastructure and personnel, the population suffers from a wide range of health problems, largely due to preventable and communicable diseases, as well as nutritional disorders. The infant mortality rate is very high, standing at 77 per 1,000 live births.

The Children
Ethiopia is a country of nearly 85 million people with 4 out of 5 Ethiopians live in rural areas and lack access to healthcare facilities. There are physicians capable of diagnosing basic heart problems in children, but unlike any major city in the U.S. and Europe, there is absolutely no congenital heart program as there are less than 1 physician for every 10,000 people.

In Ethiopia, 1 in 100 children suffer from some form of congenital heart defect and have no hope to live anything close to a normal life, destined to live a shortened life punctuated by repetitive illnesses. These children require surgery, whether it is an open-heart surgery or an interventional catheterization at some point in their early life, to correct the defect and allow them to live a normal life. The children we hope to mend will be arriving from all over Ethiopia and come from very poor families with little education and no other options.

The Mission
The Mending Kids Cardiac/Cath Surgical Mission to Ethiopia began in 2011 and takes place at the Black Lion Hospital, also known as Tikur Anbessa Hospital, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with collaboration with the surgical team from Star Hospital in Hyderabad, India. This mission to Ethiopia is led by U.S. pediatric interventional cardiology surgeons Dr. Timothy W. Casarez and Dr. David A. Ferry of CHLA, and by Indian pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Gopichand Mannam.

Progress and Goals
Mending Kids first two missions were strictly about open-heart surgeries. In 2015, we added an interventional cardiology component to the mission to provide mentorship in the Catheterization Lab.

Our goal is to continue the training in pediatric interventional cardiology, open-heart surgery and anesthesiology, so that the local medical staff may gain the confidence to do these procedures without needing international missions to assist them.

Interested Volunteers
Non-surgical team volunteers are currently being recruited for this mission. If you are interested in volunteering, review our FAQ section (click the Get Involved tab, then Mission Volunteer button) and then contact molly@mendingkids.org. The team fee for this mission is $5000 and will require a deposit of $500 to hold your spot.

Donations
Mend the heart of a child by donating today to Ethiopian children suffering from congenital heart defects. Your support aids our team in training local surgeons and providing advance surgical care.


Mission Map