Happy Women’s Day

Today we celebrate the 105th International Women’s Day. We celebrate women who have shaped the world.

Today despite many outstanding female achievements and advances, the event’s original aim of full gender parity has yet to be realized.

international womens day

So today, we continue to support those “girls” who still fight for getting access to education, health, equal conditions to work and the right to make their own decisions concerning their life!equal rights

Let us not just talk the talk, but actually make the change by respecting womankind and her invaluable contribution in society, not just for one day but everyday through our actions.Make sure you’re part of this positive moment & help accelerate gender parity worldwide.

We, in GHN would like to thank all these women, nurses, doctors, health community leaders and volunteers for their contribution. Thank you for continuous being in the front line of health care.

We wish you Happy Women’s Day!

HappyMother's Day

Are you a CHD Hero?

be-your-heart-hero-landingWhenever we hear someone is pregnant, it is a guarantee they will be asked if they want a boy or a girl and the response from the expectant parents is likely to be, “It doesn’t matter as long as the baby is healthy.” Unfortunately, there are babies that are not born healthy, but we wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Nearly 1 in 100 babies, worldwide, is born with a heart defect, making it the most common birth defect. Congenital means existing at birth, and while some may use the term “congenital heart disease,” (CHD) defect is much more accurate as the hearts of those born with CHDs did not develop normally.

While CHDs can be diagnosed in infancy or even in utero, some defects are more difficult to detect and might not be diagnosed until later in childhood or even adulthood.

Based on World Health Organization, over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.

People in low- and middle-income countries who suffer from CVDs and other noncommunicable diseases have less access to effective and equitable health care services which respond to their needs. As a result, many people in low- and middle-income countries are detected late in the course of the disease and die younger from CVDs and other noncommunicable diseases, often in their most productive years.

No matter where you live CHD is number 1 killer.

If you or someone you love is a CHD survivor, share your story. Let us know about the Hero-Fingers-Cute-miniatures-Super-Heroes-6.jpgamazing  doctors, donor and organizations who support. Help us to enhance collaboration through sharing knowledge and experience. Share your story with us in our new page dedicated to you a CHD HERO!




GHN Travel Fund – Can you help?

GHN Travel Fund – Can you help?

I need your help: Please meet a couple of our patients that have secured a place for heart surgery from their home country to go to Kauvery Hospital in Chennai, Indiathanks to Dr.R.Prem Sekar, Senior Consultant Paediatric Interventional Cardiologist and his team.

Early next year the first two patients will travel to Chennai for lifesaving care. Mr Rabson Sangwani a 39 year old adult with severe mitral stenosis from Malawi, and toddler Kailyn Ibusubu needing PDA device closure (catheter treatment) from the Philippines.

Funds for the medical costs secured via Samahope crowdfunding platform, private donors and global heart network have made this happen. Further proof that Collaboration is the only path to community impact.

However, friends of GHN I need your help. I want this opportunity for both these patients and others on our waitlist to become a reality. Can you make a year-end funding to GHN’s travel fund to help us secure the travel to get there and to achieve this possibility. Every dollar matters. Will you help? GHN’s Travel Fund started 2 years ago, see https://vimeo.com/79841764 and has succesfully got patients to care.

Please help us make the dreams of these patients and others come true and contribute to our Travel Fund. Please think about a contribution however small that will provide a new lease of life to those who otherwise do not have an opportunity for this life saving surgery.

Will you please share some holiday love with us to make this possible?

Please donate via Paypal: http://bit.ly/1RzwrBM


Heartfelt thanks

Annabel and the GHN Team

Welcome Myrto to GHN

Delighted to be in San Francisco and working with GHN Board President Annabel Green-Lavielle and our First Executive Director Myrtidiotissa Nikolakou-Petropoulou on our 2016 strategy – always with the mission to increase access to cardiac care in low and middle income countries. Let’s connect! @GHeartN.  Welcome Myrto we are looking forward to you connecting with our Heart Community to move our work forward empowering and encouraging collaboration to do more, raise awareness and save lives.

Myrto Annabel photo



JOY is a single mum in Phillipines whose daughter Kaitlyn needs PDA device closure.

PRITHI is a GHN Intern who recently worked for us in Chennai at our member hospitals

Dr SEKAR is a GHN Member, and Interventional Cardiologist at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai, India

The cost of the procedure is 1500 USD at Kauvery Hospital, Chennai, India.We are currently working with Joy to help try to secure funding for travel to get Katilyn as fast as possible to needed care.

This is one small, yet ENORMOUS example of the GHN Network in ACTION.  It also illustrates the need for a a solid network to help each other and get patients to care where they would otherwise be unable to.

As we continue to build our network and empower collaboration we will be welcoming in December our first Executive Director/CEO, Myrto Petropoulou.  To help Myrto hit the ground running we  want you to share your ideas and help us understand GHN’s impact by completing our simple GHN IMPACT SURVEY

Share your frank opinions, ideas and advice with Global Heart Network, and help us to connect under served cardiac patients with the education, support, access and advocacy they require.  Our survey remains open until 5th November 2015.

More about Myrto in the next Newsletter!

Many thanks and please do find time to do the Survey

Visiting Chennai – an overview from GHN Intern Prithi Polavarapu

A story about GHN Intern Prithi Polavarapu and her work in Chennai, India this summer – Thank you Prithi for your engagement with GHN

Personal story

561623_4474548615969_1076826548_n I am an undergrad studying molecular cellular biology at UC Berkeley. While my primary interest lies in science, I am also looking to pursue my interest in business as I begin my career. I have thus been actively looking for an organization that would allow me to work on the management side of healthcare, and GHN has been an ideal place to do so.

How you got involved with GHN?

I first came to learn about Global Heart Network when I was looking for a full time job on my university’s career website. Thinking that I wouldn’t hear back for a while if I applied that day, I submitted my resume online to GHN. Much to my surprise, I opened my email the next morning to find a message from Annabel asking if I could interview with her at the end of the week. I was thoroughly impressed with GHN’s work and considered it an honor to have received an offer to work with Annabel. However, I was in school at the time and could not make the time for GHN during the semester. Nevertheless, I reconnected with Annabel 8 months later when I could travel to India and work on the Chennai project for GHN!

Why do you feel compelled to serve this organization?

 As I have mentioned before, the nature of this work is what drew me to it at first; healthcare management is the industry I want to work in. The wonderful thing about working for GHN is that it is both professionally and personally gratifying. The work I do is complex, yet extremely interesting and has helped me refine a lot of my skills. I am constantly motivated to face the challenges that my projects bring by just the thought that my work has the potential to save someone’s life in the future.

What is your vision for GHN?

 I see GHN expanding its work beyond India and Africa, and reaching out to as much as the under developed world as possible to save the lives of many more young children with heart disease.

 Your experience in Chennai?


Dr. Sreemati with Ranjini 3 weeks after her surgery
Dr. Sreemati with Ranjini 3 weeks after her surgery
Dr. Prem Shekar from Kauvery hospital examining a patient being helped through Samahope
Dr. Prem Shekar from Kauvery hospital examining a patient being helped through Samahope



A shot from the pediatric ward of Madras Medical Mission. Special thanks to Dr. Harapriya for showing me around
A shot from the pediatric ward of Madras Medical Mission. Special thanks to Dr. Harapriya for showing me around
Me with a couple of Dr Sreemathi’s patients
Me with a couple of Dr Sreemathi’s patients

 I had been so inspired and proud to work with Global Heart Network from the start on projects in India and Senegal, but not until I visited India was I able to fully recognize the impact that GHN was making. I was closely in touch with four hospitals this summer, Public Health Center, Madras Medical Mission, Frontier Lifeline and Kauvery hospital – all of which had doctors that were closely involved with GHN. These doctors shared GHN’s vision to reach out to as many under privileged families as they could around the Chennai area and facilitated our efforts to achieve the goal. With the help of our donor organization and these wonderful doctors, we were able to successfully help perform more than 50 surgeries in less than 6 months.

 What do you feel are the biggest barriers to increasing global access to cardiac care?

Poverty, unawareness and inefficient healthcare systems.

How do you envision an online platform (like GHN) that aims to improve communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders being able to help you achieve your goals in your respective field?

The career field I want to enter, Healthcare consulting, survives on thriving pharmaceutical companies. If GHN can achieve its fullest potential to increase access to cardiac care, it would mean that more patients are being treated and there is a greater need for more and better drugs in the world. This pushes for evolution and innovation of drugs within the pharma industry, and makes for healthier world for tomorrow’s children.


On September 29, 2015 RHD Action was launched and all of us working to increase access to cardiac care should know and contribute to this important global movement. RHD Action has a mission to end rheumatic heart disease (RHD)/ RHD Action was launched on September 29th on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Global health experts, healthcare providers, people living with RHD and others called for new action against this easily preventable but neglected disease, which as we all know, but outreach has been unsatisfactory, is a major cause of serious illness and death among women, children and adolescents in developing countries.

The partnership has started with 3 driving forces to make this a reality: Medtronic plc, RhEACH and World Heart Federation. For more information on RHD Action, visit www.RHDaction.org.


For more information about Global Heart Network’s raising awareness about RHD in Senegal : http://bit.ly/1rZYisZ  and some of the awareness materials developed in French  brochure Version ll P1 brochure Version ll p2

Tuesday 29th September – WORLD HEART DAY, activities at Hospital de Niños Santísima Trinidad, Cordoba, Argentina

World Heart Day, started in 2000, and is an international campaign to inform people about heart disease.World Heart Day takes place on 29 September every year and is a chance for people across the globe to take part in the world’s biggest intervention against cardiovascular disease.

In Cordoba Argentina the “Hospital de Niños Santísima Trinidad”, have created an incredible Heart Week ( September 28th – October 2nd ), where they will hold activities that promote preventions of cardiovascular diseases and promotion of healthy habits. The week is addressed at health professionals and to the general public. The activities include Cardiopulmonary Reanimation (CPR) workshops, and conferences about cardiac diseases, healthy nutrition, Hypertension, how to measure blood pressure, and a presentation of Provincial Program of Neonatals´and pediatrics ´Congenital Heart Disease. These activities have been made possible thanks to the Ministry of Health Health and its Prevention and Promotion Section; the dedicated Cardiovascular team of “Hospital de Niños Santisima Trinidad”, “Hospital de Niños´Foundation” and “Corazoncito Foundation” .
Furthermore, and with the intention of getting more people involved with heart health,
we have been helping to divulgate the activities and workshops that will be done during the “Heart Week”. If you are in Argentina, and specifically Cordoba please go along and spread the word.  Here is the schedule of activities

Schedule of Activities Heart Week, Córdoba

Healthy Hearts in Managua, Nicaragua – A conversation with Surgeons of Hope (SoH)

In this blog we continue our portrayal of organizations caring for and accompanying patients with heart disease in South America. Our conversation today is with Surgeon’s of Hope (SoH) Executive Director, Charles-Edouard CATHERINE (ChE) discussing their work in Managua, Nicaragua.  SoH have been a supporter of GHN’s vision and mission since the beginning thanks to SoH Board President Eduardo da Cruz, MD and we are immensely grateful for Dr da Cruz initial counsel as we all work to expand access to life-saving heart care around the world.

Charles-Edouard CATHERINE, Executive Director, Surgeons Of Hope
Charles-Edouard CATHERINE, Executive Director, Surgeons Of Hope

GHN:  Introduce us to Surgeons of Hope (SoH)

ChE : Surgeons of Hope strives to provide every infant and child with a damaged heart with an equal opportunity to receive life-saving surgery. Our head quarter is in Manhattan.

We have executed our model in Managua, Nicaragua, the first instance of our program in Latin America.  Our aim is to provide access to cardiac care to vulnerable infants and children in the poorest countries of the western hemisphere.  Our approach has a triple focus:

1. CURING:  We organize and send volunteer surgical teams from U.S. and European teaching hospitals to the poorest regions where our program will do the most good.  Each team includes 12-15 specialists needed to perform open-heart surgery on infants and children.  In one week, a team can perform ten surgeries to cure both congenital and acquired heart problems. 2. TRAINING:  Because teams are assembled from leading teaching hospitals and the medical professionals are also professors, they engage in intensive training of the target country’s local medical team, at first in demonstration, and eventually in collaboration, once the local team’s skills reach that standard.  This progression can occur after 15 to 20 such surgical missions.  Surgeons of Hope equips, supplies, and provides for the logistics of each team’s surgical mission.3. BUILDING:  As the local medical team’s surgical skills rise to the standard, Surgeons of Hope constructs a new, modern pediatric heart center in that country, equipping and supplying the new center with the latest in technology to ensure sustainability of the progress.

We are about to start a new program in Costa Rica and in Peru.

For more information please view a video made for SoH

GHN: How long have you been going for and what was the reason or inspiration for your NGO starting?

ChE: Surgeons of Hope was founded in 2001, the idea was to reproduce the resounding success of the Chaine de l’Espoir in France.

Maria Jose with patient Martha Alicia Vargas
Maria Jose with patient Martha Alicia Vargas
Patient Andro Pompero
Patient Andro Pompero
Surgery in Progress
Surgery in Progress

GHN: What do you feel are the biggest barriers to increasing access to cardiac care in your area?

ChE: Mainly cultural traits (lack of pro-activity and lack of interest to “own and be accountable for the cardiac program”)

GHN: What is the single biggest need your organization has in achieving its goals and mission?

ChE: As most small NGOs, our main issue is to have a steady and predictable stream of donations.

GHN: What is your organization doing to make global access to cardiac care sustainable?

ChE: Our first priority to achieve sustainability is to develop a great collaboration with local authorities, to gain the trust of our local partners and of the Government.

GHN: Describe any collaborations your organization has had with other organizations or stake holders working in similar fields to your own? Has there been any limitations to your communication?

ChE: We mainly work with:

Chaine de l’Espoir France, Chaine de l’Espoir Belgium, Heart Trust, Let It Beat, Hearts with Hope; multiple cardiovascular programs in the USA and in Europe

We organize missions together, share expertise and best practices.

We don’t really experiment any limitations with communication bridges. However, we do when we are looking for new partners.

GHN: How do you envision a collaborative technology platform (like GHN) that aim to improve communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders being able to help you achieve your goals in your respective field?

ChE: We provide strategic mentoring, benchmarking tools and optimization of resources (human, technical, equipment, etc.)

GHN: Do you have any specific stakeholders you would like to reach out to via the GHN Platform or this interview?  

ChE: We always welcome the opportunity to build new collaborations, especially with NGOs that work in Latin America.

Charles-Edouard was at the Global Forum in Geneva in June 2015 presenting SoH’s work to our audience.  Please contact Charles-Edouard directly for any further information about their programs in South America or connect with GHN for introductions.

Finally you may be curious to learn about Charles-Edouard’s personal and brave journey as he works relentlessly for access to care for children in Nicaragua.

GHN Intern Spotlight – meet Rawan Basel Abushaban

We are so happy to welcome Rawan to Global Heart Network team.  We wanted to introduce Rawan to the GHN community by asking her a little bit about herself and what she is learning about global health and cardiac care in general. Rawan explains how her stories changed not only her own perspective on disease treatment and prevention, but her perspective on life in its entirety.  Rawan is going into her  final year at UC Berkeley and now has a dream to work in healthcare, and to serve in the field of policy and management to develop strategies that combine all of these perspectives – and more – to ensure access to care for all.

We hope you enjoy meeting Rawan.  Thank you Rawan on behalf of GHN for your commitment and hard work for our mission.

Rawan Basel Abushaban
Rawan Basel Abushaban

“During my internship at the Global Heart Network Foundation, I’ve learned quite a lot about perspective.

Before joining GHN, I was new to global health and nonprofit organizations. In the three years I spent at UC Berkeley completing my major in English, I had gained little knowledge about health systems at the local level, much less on the international spectrum. That all changed when I decided that I shouldn’t limit myself to the obvious career paths that my academic choices suggest. I wanted to write and analyze, communicate and build, but I also wanted to apply myself and use my skills in the field that demanded my attention the most: healthcare.

I joined GHN as a business development intern in February, expecting to gain some quality experience in the fields of healthcare and nonprofit organizations, and with the high hopes of making a difference – somehow. What I gained was more than just experience; I gained perspective.

I had the opportunity to work closely with Annabel, a GHN co-founder, board member, and nonprofit expert. With Annabel as my guide and dear mentor, I saw through the eyes of transnational patients who reached out to GHN, asking for help from regions like West Africa and South India. I heard about their cases, read their messages, and understood their plights. Their stories changed not only my own perspective on disease treatment and prevention, but my perspective on life in its entirety. Seeing the unique needs of each patient that go unaddressed and unresolved by local healthcare administrators inspired my work. Being able to help others and see them benefit from the care GHN provides – whether it’s subsidizing surgery, educating students, or connecting patients to the doctors and resources they need – has instilled in me a love for global service and a passion for serving others in the healthcare field.

Cardiovascular disease is something that affects everyone. Whether you’re someone born with a congenital heart disease or impairment, or if someone close to you lives his or her life in and out of the hospital due to unsustainable cardiac treatment, or if you’ve joined your loved ones in the struggle to find access to healthcare, or if you live in a region where heart disease raises child, maternal, and infant mortalities and lowers life expectancy by decades, we are all part of the same community. The shocking disconnect between us is what impedes access to healthcare. It’s on us – doctors, caretakers, nonprofit managers, interns, and volunteers – to reach out and offer our support, and to remedy the ailment that we all suffer together.

The Global Heart Network is creating something that we all in desperately need: a network, a linkage, a means to connect us to one another in the pursuit of cardiac care and the longevity of life. This network is the one, cohesive solution that connects people to care. If we consolidate our efforts onto one single platform, the possibilities for cardiac care will be endless. Mothers in Senegal won’t lose their children to rheumatic heart disease before they graduate from elementary school. Parents in India won’t lose their babies to ventricular septal defects, or holes in their hearts, before they have a chance to live. If we can’t prevent a disease, we will bring ourselves closer to curing it. Whether you join to provide healthcare or to ask for it, GHN is a healthcare necessity to the world.

Going into my fourth and final year of school with new experiences under my belt, I now have a dream to work in healthcare, and to serve in the field of policy and management to develop strategies that combine all of these perspectives – and more – to ensure access to care for all.”