Next week, my husband Ashvin will volunteer his time for a 10-day medical mission in Nairobi, Kenya with Hearts Around the World
, a charitable medical organization focused on cardiovascular medical education and training in the developing world. Over the past many years, Hearts Around the World has sponsored teams to improve cardiac care in Russia, Vietnam, and most recently, Nairobi, Kenya. Last October was the first time he participated, traveling with a team that included two cardiologists, a cardiac surgeon, an anesthesiologist, cardiac nurses, a cardiac sonographer, and cardiac perfusionist (the one who manages the heart-lung machine during heart surgery). Below are some pictures from their trip.
The philosophy of the organization is a special one. Hearts Around the World has an enduring goal, to work side-by-side with local physicians and nurses, to provide them teaching about modern medical techniques and patient care, and to give them to the tools to sustain that high level medical care long after the team has arrived back home in the US. It’s a long-term relationship with a hospital forged over years.
Last year, over a period of about one week, Ashvin and his team trained a group of Kenyan cardiologists and surgeons, assisting them with thirty-six cardiac catheterization procedures including repair of congenital defects (for example, holes in the heart), repair valves that get narrowed as a complication of rheumatic heart disease, and many cardiac surgeries. Their success was measured not only in the patients they cared for but also in the ongoing care provided by the Kenyan doctors and nurses they helped train. A glimpse of the lasting impact of our trip was confirmed by a note he received from the brother of one of their patients several months later:
“My name is B.N., a brother to one of the patients you gave a new lease of life through the ballooning process organized by the Kenyatta national Hospital her name is C.N. This was done on the 25th Oct 2011 at the Mater Hospital. I must confess that you really touched our hearts and left an indelible mark of gratitude. My Sister responded quite well and from the last review, she is better than before.”
The work they are doing is amazing. Heart disease is not just a Western phenomenon but affects individuals around the world. We are lucky to have resources, training, and equipment here in the US and even more fortunate to be able to provide even some portion of that to others.
Here’s how you can help
The organization relies on donor funds to support the work of the missions. Administrative costs are kept to a minimum, and nearly all the funds go to support travel costs for our team. Most equipment has been generously donated by medical device companies. Please consider donating to this extremely worthwhile cause.
Once on the ground in Nairobi, you can follow their experiences on their blog
Safe travels Ashvin and team!