Post-Surgery with mother--Belgian Team's Mission
Recent weeks have seen growing heart-saving activity at the new Pediatric Heart Center in Managua, Nicaragua. Two teams, one from Belgium and one from France, visited the Heart Center with differing mission concepts. The Belgian team of 12 volunteers performed a standard mission of providing operations while training the local medical team. 10 children were operated on during the week that the Belgian team was there in mid-February.
Then, in late February, a team of 3 from Mecenat Cardiaque, a Paris organization, visited the center to focus on echocardiography, studying the hearts of 30 children weakened by heart problems, and thought to be in advanced stages requiring the most complex of surgical procedures to be saved. Genuinely moved by the numbers of cases, visiting cardiologist Dr. Laurent Fermont, resolved to bring one child to Paris for surgery first, and then in future months to try to progressively bring more children for surgery in France.
Interviewed during the Belgian mission, cardiac surgeon Katrien Francois, MD, took time in the ICU to reflect upon the essence of their mission. She noted with some gravity, that the Belgian team would not experience such advanced cases in their home country. By visiting Nicaragua, her team was able to utilize aspects of their training geared toward helping children who had not been able to access care in a more timely manner--their situations were far beyond those usually found in the developed world where such problems are dealt with sooner. For that reason, the Belgian team was grateful for the opportunity to visit our Heart Center. They could experience the need, help the afflicted infants and children, and train the local medical team in essential procedures.
In April, a team will be traveling from Madrid, Spain, for their first visit to our Heart Center. A volunteer team of 12 have agreed to go. This team was assembled, thanks to the enthusiasm of one of the nurses at the children's hospital in Madrid. Nurse Gemma was part of the French mission team of 2014, and upon her return home, she resolved to assemble her colleagues into their own team and go back to Managua.
As Global Giving friends of Surgeons of Hope, you have contributed to bringing all of these volunteer teams to our Heart Center. Think of the young lives of the children who have received desperately-needed help, and realize that each of you has had a hand in this success. There is still more to be done, but we are getting there.
Commenting on the contributions of these various international teams, SoH Executive Director Charles Catherine said that these teams bring their various approaches to the work that we are doing in Nicaragua. The local medical team, particularly Mireya Araica, MD, Cardiologist at the Heart Center, has praised the progress that she has seen all around her. "I am excited that a Spanish-speaking team from one of the world's leading children's hospitals in Madrid is preparing for a mission," Mr. Catherine said.
Please continue to support our work to heal these children's hearts in Nicaragua. Your Global Giving dollars go very far.
Working in the busy ICU
Mecenat Cardique consultation session
Mecenat team with local hospital officials