Team Heart, a volunteer organization, is led by BWH's Chip Bolman, MD, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and Prem Shekar, MD, with an advisory board of individuals active in Boston and Rwanda. They work closely with Gene Bukhman, MD, of Partners In Health, and many others to make this mission possible.
In April 2008, 36 members of Team Heart traveled to Kigali, Rwanda, to perform heart surgery on 11 patients at King Faisal Hospital. These patients already had been screened and selected as candidates for surgery by Dr. Bukhman, a cardiologist, who works in Rwanda for much of the year. Partners In Health has worked with the Rwandan Ministry of Health since 2005 to deliver on the right to health care in a country previously torn by genocide. PIH already has helped to rebuild two public hospitals and four health centers. As PIH has done this work, the hospitals have swelled with children and young adults suffering from advanced heart failure. These patients account for as much as 20 percent of hospital time in the adult hospital wards, and new cases of heart failure are uncovered every day.
Team Heart is working closely with Partners In Health, King Faisal Hospital and the Rwandan Ministry of Health to:
Address the suffering of adolescents and young adults afflicted with advanced rheumatic heart disease in Rwanda.
Prevent advanced rheumatic heart disease through delivery of antibiotics to those already touched by rheumatic fever and streptococcal infections.
Provide an example of effective country-wide intervention against rheumatic heart disease that can inspire replication in sub-Saharan Africa.
With the inaugural surgical mission under its belt, Team Heart is gearing up for another next year, and as many as it takes after that to help King Faisal set up its own cardiac surgery program.
Video: Prior to the first trip in April, Leslie Sabatino discusses the goals of Team Heart.
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This page was last modified on 10/20/2011