Surgery for CHD on the Global Health Agenda

Last year GHN co-Founder,  Annabel Lavielle, met with Dr. Shanti Mendis, Director of Management of NCDs at the World Health Organization in Geneva. The principle goal of the meeting was to introduce  GHN’s initiative and to discuss first hand  the WHOs’ position with respect to congenital heart diseases (CHD) on the global health agenda. Dr. Mendis  clearly explained that from a publich health perspective the WHO’s guidelines to local governments are to proceed with surgical activities on a local level, preferably without outside relocation. We hope that by following the WHO guidelines and if many governments agree to this we will be in a stronger position in terms of placing CHDs as a public health issue that puts strains/pressures on systems and has ripple effects on many. It is clear that supporting building capacity, and sustainable cardiac centers, will evolve into greater/more enthusiastic endorsements in meaningful terms later

Up until now, public health and surgery have often lived at opposite ends of the spectrum. To our point of view, this fact requires immediate engagement of the international community, which has already started developing and organizing new ways to provide access to hospital care for lifesaving and life changing surgical services. Read more about how surgery and public health are working side by side to achieve similar goals by reading the following article by Johns Hopkins’s Public Health Surgery in Global Health Article JHU Spring 2013.

Being passionate in strengthening the systems for cardiac care through building capacity and sustainable cardiac centers, Global Heart Network are planning on developing a registry of health care institutions (hospitals, clinics) in low and middle income countries (LMICs). Initially, the registry plans on storing the information on cardiac diagnostic and surgical treatment activities available in the selected LMICs. Through the analysis and visualization of the population- and country- level needs, the GHN platform will be able to show where the needs are and help influence how resources are distributed.

Initially, Global Heart Network’s one year project will include the following:

a)    identification of the existing cardiothoracic infrastructure (in LMICs);

b)    evaluation of the capacity of the existing cardiothoracic infrastructure;

c)     disease data collection;

d)    data integration and visualization;

According to the GHN’s objectives, the collected, analyzed and visualized information will simplify the communication among medical professionals and patients as well as efficiently assist them with finding the best diagnostic or treatment solutions (preferably within the same country).

We strongly believe that the proposed registry will significantly enhance the collaboration among NGOs working in pediatric and adult cardiac care. Registered within the GHN, the participating NGOs will have a chance to coordinate their activities (information sharing, coordinated drug and medical equipment distribution) according to the requirements of the cardiothoracic facilities.

Please contact Rostyslav Kuzyakiv at for further information about this important project.  We would be delighted to have your ideas and feedback for this needed project.

Global Heart Network Impact

Sheryll  from Philippines

Last week we highlighted the story of Peninah energetic young girl from Kenya, who was able to get access to heart surgery thanks to the assistance of Global Heart Network. This week we want to highlight the story of Sheryll Verde diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot when she was  6 months old, a congenital defect that often caused her to go hypoxic, a state where her entire body turned a blue color from the lack of oxygenation. Sheryll struggled with this completely treatable condition as surgery was unaffordable for Sheryll and her family in her country. Struggling with poor health, Sheryll was in and out of school her entire life until she came across Global Heart Network in 2013. Through the platform Sheryll’s need was connected to a solution, and she was able to find life saving surgery in July 2013. If you would like to read Sheryll’s story in more detail please take the time to read her first hand account My Story Sheryll Philippines.

IMG_3142460102349 IMG_3154763461015

GHN Member Spotlight

Dr. Sulafa Ali from Sudan has been recognized by the prestigious Lancet peer-reviewed journal for her amazing work on Rheumatic Heart Disease Control Programs in Sudan. Prior to Dr. Sulafa Ali’s effort to implement pediatric cardiology in Sudan, the field essentially did not exist. Sudan lacked nearly all resources and infrastructure needed for implementation of pediatric cardiology, so when Dr. Ali made it he mission to bring Sudan access to pediatric care, she needed to put in a tremendous effort to network and bring together different resources from various countries. Despite initially working with little funding, Dr. Sulafa Ali was able to overcome it all, and can now be credited with “single handedly” bringing pediatric cardiac care to Sudan. Here at GHN we want honor Dr. Sulafa Ali’s work in bringing capacity to conduct cardiac surgeries in Sudan by bringing all the needs together, a feat that aligns flawlessly with Global Heart Network mission. Read more about Dr. Ali by reading more in her Lancet profile Dr. Sulafa Ali Lancet Highlight.

Samahope Partnering with GHN


In our last blog we proudly introduced our new partnership with the wonderful non-profit Samahope. Samahope is a crowdfunding platform dedicated to funding heroic doctors to provide critical medical treatments to women and children who can’t afford them. Specifically our partnership with help 2 of GHN’s devoted heart surgeon’s in Chennai find funding to treat patients that need life saving surgeries for tetralogy of Fallot. Please take the time to visit our Samahope’s website and keep an eye out for our amazing surgeons profiles that should be coming up in the next few weeks. Read more about Samahope by taking a few minutes to read their blog .



1 comment

Add Yours
  1. Sulafa Ali

    Thanks for GHN for supporting congenital heart disease in developing countries and we look forwards for more contribution esp in making catheter supplies available through donations


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s