Boston Children’s Hospital of the Harvard University in the United States (US), has collaborated with Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to perform successful open heart surgery on 140 Ghanaian children born with heart defects.
The operations performed free of charge by a team of medical personnel, including cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons, critical care nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and medical volunteers, were intended to correct heart-related deformities and abnormalities amongst the patients.
“We are happy to be associated with this noble cause over the last decade, and seeing some of the beneficiaries of our outreach programme now being able to play soccer, jump around and do things just like any other healthy child gives us the joy and motivation to work hard in achieving our goals”, Ms. Beverly Small, a critical care nurse of the Boston Children’s Hospital told the Ghana News Agency (GNA).
This was on the sidelines of a visit by the medical team to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, at his Manhyia Palace, Kumasi, and formed part of activities marking the ten years anniversary of the US-based Hospital’s collaboration with their Ghanaian counterparts designed “to give life to dying children”.
Heart surgery is typically used for patients with severe coronary artery disease, heart valve problems and aneurysm, in which the heart cannot pump blood adequately.
The GNA gathered that the average hospital charge for all common heart surgery cost not less than US$10, 000, and this by Ghanaian standards was very difficult to come by, a situation which posed potential risk to many children born with such defects.
Ms. Small, who led the delegation to the Palace, indicated that they were committed to imparting the needed knowledge and expertise in order to help their counterparts take over full responsibility of treating successfully heart-related deformities for the benefit of the people.
The Hospital currently has only one practicing Cardiovascular Surgeon, and health authorities are working around the clock to see to the training of more of such professionals in order to attend to emergency cases.
She said cardiovascular issues ought to be given the needed attention by stakeholders since the heart played a major role in the health of the people.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu praised the medical personnel for their sense of duty, stressing the need for authorities of KATH to foster more of such collaborations to attain optimum health for Ghanaians.
KATH, the nation’s second largest health referral facility provides services not only to Ghanaians, but to people from around the West African sub-region, particularly neigbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo and Cote d’ Ivoire.
Dr. Oheneba Danso, Chief Executive Officer of the Hospital, disclosed that since the construction of its Accident and Emergency Centre, the Out-Patient-Department (OPD) attendances and referral cases had increased and that, this had come with its own challenges to the authorities.
It was, therefore, necessary for more to be done to enhance emergency medicine and general healthcare for patients.