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 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.
This year’s Ethiopia mission is complete but if you are interested in volunteering on a future mission, click the button below, fill in the required info, and someone from our team will reach out to you.