A lot has been going on in the Global Heart Network (GHN) community over the last few weeks. Today we are excited to introduce you to our new Board Member, Sangeeta Tiwari, provide you with some updates of patients that were linked to resources through the GHN platform, give you the overview of an interview with one of our NGO members, as well as to introduce you to our evaluation of humanitarian cardiovascular initiatives/global health programs provided by hospitals in North America.
Global Heart Network (www.globalheartnetwork.net) is a community collaborative platform bringing together stakeholders, members and partners working in cardiac care, all eager to give as well as receive, to work and share together, and to increase access to cardiac care in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Our members are stakeholders, including Healthcare professionals, NGOs, Patients, Volunteers, National and Local Governments, Policy makers and Foundations who are collaboratively engaging on the platform. A member can also become a supporting partner who brings high quality resources to the platform and help build the capacity for institutional change.
Below is an overview of some of the aims of the GHN Platform:
We are so happy to welcome Sangeeta Tiwari to Global Heart Network team. Sangeeta will be joining the GHN board as the Treasurer and Product Director. We wanted to introduce Sangeeta to the GHN community by asking her a little bit about her background and a series of questions regarding her involvement in GHN.
In the last twenty years, the major force in moving me from a neuroscientist to a pharmaceutical business development professional and finally to a healthcare philanthropy fundraiser has been the joy in building meaningful relationships to create an impact. I worked on cutting edge research to identify new molecules and pathways to find cures for neurological diseases. With a desire to impact patients who ultimately benefit from scientific discoveries, I transitioned to the pharmaceutical industry, forming collaborations and alliances with universities and biotech companies related to clinical research. More recently, my focus has been to raise funds for healthcare education and treatment of medical conditions in children and adults to save lives.
My personal life experience moved me in the direction of healthcare philanthropy. When my son went through an open heart surgery soon after his birth, it changed my life forever. My appreciation for advances in research and biomedical technologies was enhanced many fold. Today at age 8, he is growing beautifully. I have revisited many times in my mind the moments when the decision was made that he needed to go through heart surgery. We were assured by a top surgeon that everything will go well. We had to trust that the technological advances in the field will make it possible. For us, it is a miracle and this experience has had a profound impact on my way of thinking and doing things today. I have made a decision to give back through my professional life. I am empowered each day just by the thought of moving into philanthropy field and making impact through building relationships and engaging donors in impactful missions.
How you got involved with GHN?
I have been inspired by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s philanthropic work and in particular, its work in the field of global health. My quest to learn about how I can be involved in global health to make an impact to save lives took me to a new path. Once I was attending a global health event in Palo Alto where I met Annabel Lavielle, co-founder of GHN. We both introduced each other and decided to meet for a lunch. When our one hour meeting turned into a three hour long conversation, I knew that I needed to get involved with GHN to fulfill its mission.
Why do you feel compelled to serve this organization?
After several meetings with Annabel and learning about GHN’s mission, vision and values I knew that my passion and my unique abilities are a good match with the organization’s mission and needs. I have chosen to spend my career in the nonprofit sector and having this amazing opportunity to build GHN with like-minded people is compelling for me.
What is your vision for GHN?
My vision for GHN is to act as a catalyst to bring collaborations among key stakeholders and support partnerships by providing an ecosystem where everyone will have an access to cardiac care. With increased awareness, improved infrastructure and available resources, it is our vision to have a sustainable global cardiac care program.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers to increasing global access to cardiac care?
The biggest barrier to increasing access to cardiac care is its high cost. This can be achieved only by collaborations and coordination of methods and data across countries. We need to work together to make the system efficient and cost effective in order to make it sustainable. The massive global burden of cardiovascular disease due to its prevalence and projected social and economic costs needs to be recognized and we need to partner to get this issue on global health agenda.
How do you envision an online platform (like GHN) that aims to improve communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders?
I am very excited about the future upgrade of GHN technology platform. Through the existing platform we have been able to match cardiac care needs in developing countries and many lives have been saved. With the increase in number of various stakeholders participating and collaborating through the GHN technology platform, we hope to achieve GHN’s mission by increasing global access to cardiac care and eventually supporting a sustainable worldwide cardiac care system.
Mark Lawrence Jaleco from Philipines, and Beatrice from Nigeria
As you may have read in our last blog, Beatrice and Mark had recently got their visa accepted that would allow them to fly to Geneva where they will receive their life saving surgeries. Just as an update we would like you to know that Beatrice has just been discharged from HUG Hospital after her operation, and will be returning to Nigeria at the end of next week. Mark Lawrence from the Philippines has also been discharged and will be returning home to the Philippines at the end of the month. We hope you share in our joy the great work that the GHN community has done in order to bring access to surgical treatment for Mark and Beatrice. Please read upcoming blogs in order to continue to get updates for Beatrice and Mark.
Portrait of Team Heart in Rwanda
We are excited to provide our community with an interview with Ceeya Patton-Bolman, Executive Director at Team Heart. Team Heart works in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health, Rwanda Heart Foundation and global partners, to address the burden of cardiac disease. Team Heart is one of our partners in our mission to increase access to life saving heart surgeries in LMICs. We asked Ceeya Patton-Bolman a series of questions in order to better understand their mission and how Team Heart envisages the role of a platform such as GHN to help the community at large with their work:
What do you feel are the biggest barriers to increasing global access to cardiac care?
Local capacity building and developing a funding model which would allow an increase of material resources. These are the two areas that could increase access to care rather quickly.
What is the single biggest need your organization has in achieving its goals and mission?
Our needs are money and time for team. If we could raise more money we could provide more direct care, skill transfer and specialized training of local staff to meet the needs in country. Sending children from one country to the next is valuable and will save the life of that child—but to develop a program to save 300 lives…how can we all engage in the same mission for a positive outcome?
What is your organization doing to make global access to cardiac care sustainable?
We are planning a comprehensive cardiac center in Rwanda, built in collaboration with the local team of cardiologists, anesthesiologist and soon to be trained surgical team to address the needs of the local population. We support the screening and identification of heart disease, but it is difficult when you do not have facility to provide care when needed. Currently we support the facilitation of specialized training outside the country to provide trained surgeons and cardiologists.
Describe any collaboration your organization has had with other organizations or stakeholders working in similar fields to your own? Have there been any limitations to your communication?
We currently have MOU pending with Chain of Hope, UK, for research and education and Rheumatic Heart Disease International for research. We have agreements with the 3 other expatriate teams working in Rwanda now to coordinate care and share resources, building improved and expanded care. For 7 years we have had a MOU with Rwanda Ministry of Health.
How do you envision an online platform (like GHN) that aim to improve communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders being able to help you achieve your goals in your respective field?
As GHN develops, the community could increase communication between stakeholders, and facilitate partnerships. But how that works now is unclear… as to who takes the ownership and lead for difficult problems. One way we could all learn more and become more active partners by providing updates on placements and outcomes.
Coordinating collaborative work, meetings and educational and research experiences (defining metrics etc.,), directing policy change across regions could be a positive outcome for GHN. Collecting data of programs might be a starting point to begin that discussion—not just for congenital heart disease, but also rheumatic heart disease.
Below is a picture of Dr. Hakim Yadi and Annabel Lavielle, both GHN Board Members with Dr. Joseph Mucumbitsi and Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza Kamanzi and members of the local team in Rwanda where Team Heart works.
60 Minutes Highlights the work of NGO Emergency
Emergency, a GHN NGO Member, runs a single hospital offering free surgeries to the estimated 15 million children suffering from Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). Under the current situation in Africa 4 out every 5 children suffering from CHD are expected to decease before the age of 25. We highly encourage the GHN community to view the 60 minutes segment on Salam Center in order to get a glimpse into what a sustainable attempt at addressing CHD access disparities in LMICs.
GHN’s Current Research Projects
1. Registry of cardiovascular disease (CVD) Institutions in LMICs
We are currently analyzing the data sets we have received for CVD Institution Research project. We would like to thank hospitals in Nigeria, Vietnam, Argentina, India and Lebanon for their input. Our next goal is to propose a template that will be used as the guide for the Registry, and with the help of GHN Members we will start building the first CVD Institution Registry in LMICs to benefit the community at large. Upon completion of the project the registry will be found on http://www.globalheartnetwork.net
2. Evaluation of humanitarian cardiovascular initiatives/global health programs provided by hospitals in North America
Throughout the month of June, GHN will be conducting an evaluation of global health programs in North American Hospitals that provide open-heart surgery. We are addressing the following question:
What are the global health programs, and initiatives from Cardiac Care Providers in North America at Hospitals that offer Open Heart Surgery?
Individual organizations (NGOs, nonprofits), facilities and hospitals in North America are working to reach children in need of corrective treatment and surgery for congenital and rheumatic heart diseases. The purpose of this evaluation is to establish for the benefit of the humanitarian community, members of GHN, an overview of what the North American Hospitals and individuals in the hospitals are working on in the humanitarian arena relating to cardiac care.
Information will be gathered about work that has taken place, or is taking place, from these hospitals with the objective of creating a list of available resources and understand the current landscape of initiatives. These initiatives include work on prevention, diagnostics, surgery and training. Following the evaluation responses will be shared with the community for the benefit of all.
For further information or if you would like to take part in the survey that will be sent out on June 2, 2014 please contact Misayo Welke at email@example.com
GHN has developed partnerships with hospitals that offer resources to patients in LMICs, and we are looking to grow these partnerships so that we can match needs with such resources. We are working with all stakeholders to add resources to the network. If you have medical equipment, devices and supplies, funds for travelling, education and training opportunities, or clinical services from diagnostics to open heart surgery capacity, and would like to announce this on our platform, please contact GHN President, Annabel Lavielle at Annabel@globalheartnetwork.net