Mending Kids U.S. and Italian Medical Volunteers Work Together to Mend Children’s Hearts in Tanzania.
The goal of this year’s week-long medical mission at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania was to provide complex life-saving open-heart surgeries and interventional cardiology procedures provided to 30 kids, 11 of which received open-heart surgery and 19 received interventional cardiology procedures. 44 children were screened, 39 procedures were done. In addition, Mending Kids surgeons continued the training of local cardiac surgeon, Dr. Godwin Sharau, the first certified Tanzanian pediatric cardiac surgeon in the country and pediatric interventional cardiologist, Godfrey Mbwala. The ICU Nurse and Staff nurses also received training from our mission coordinator, and repeat Mending Kids volunteer, Mollie Mullaney R.N. who is spending a year in Tanzania to help elevate the standards of nursing care there.
The 18 medical volunteers from both the U.S and Italy were led by Dr. Evan Zahn, Director of the Congenital Heart Program & Director of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and co-lead by Dr. Salvatore “Sasha” Agati, Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery at Bambino Gesu Hospital in Taormina Italy.
According to Dr. “Sasha” Agati, “We have made tremendous strides here in Tanzania over the last four years from an anesthesia, surgical and nursing care standpoint and the local staff here at JKCI are much more capable of handling these complex cardiac cases at present. Through these Mending Kids missions, we are only here now to support them.”
Over the past 3 years, nearly 100 Tanzanian children have received life-saving care from Dr. Zahn and Dr. Agati who volunteer their time to save as many children as they can in a week-long marathon of mending. Children suffering from life-endangering heart conditions and advanced congenital heart disease have been given second chances at living healthy lives.
Many thanks to our invaluable in-kind donation sponsors who made this mission possible; Abbott, Edwards Lifesciences, Medtronic, Medshare, Merit Medical and Teleflex. And many thanks to the following individuals who donated upward towards $23,000 to Dr. Zahn's cardiac mission; Anonymous, Walter Tice, Gus Van Sant. Lucas Zahn, Efrain Hernandez Jr, Darrell Payne, Arnold Fischler, Seth Sahr, Nicole Berndsen, Phil Nevin, Glen Titan, Ruchira Garg, Ruchira Garg, Robert Wong, Hillary Mandel, Christine Houde, Bradley Richter, Jo Anne Neives