As we start this blog we remind you of Global Heart Network’s mission to amplify change and increase patient access to cardiac care across the globe by  connecting independent efforts and initiatives to people in need. We have created an online platform, that acts as a portal for collaboration and communication to become a supply chain management tool-serving professionals within the non-profit, philanthropic, government, and international development sectors, as well as medical personnel, volunteers and the patients. Join GHN Network today, or Contact us

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Read Dr Yankah’s moving tribute to Dr Donald Nixon Ross, a global mentor in Cardiac surgery who made an indelible mark and won an undying respect. He set a shining example of the kind of unconditional passion required to see a cardiac surgery profession through good times and bad.


This month our member profile is Dr Sandra Williams-Phillips, MD, FESC, FAHA, FESC, Photo Dr Sandra Williams-Phillips 2Pediatric Cardiologist from Jamaica. Dr Williams-Phillips is a recent member of the Global Heart Network who tells us about the need for a network such as GHN to help initiate introductions for her work.  Dr Williams-Phillips answers our questions:

Introduce yourself, how long you have been working, your training,  details of team etc.I have been a Physician for 33 years, Pediatrician for 28 years and a Pediatric and Congenital Cardiologist for 19 years. I was educated at the University of the West Indies obtaining MB.BS (1981), DCH (1983) and DM. Paed (1986). I was competitively selected for British Chevening Scholarship in 1993, to pursue a Clinical Fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology at the Royal Brompton National Heart and Lung Institute. I completed my Fellowship with accolades, under the auspices of then Drs. Michael Rigby, Andrew Redington , Elliot Shinebourne and Prof. Robert Anderson at the Royal Brompton Hospital, U.K. I obtained my Fellowship from the European Society of Cardiology in category of Scientific Excellence in 2013, Fellowship in the American Society of Echocardiography and Fellowship in the American Heart Association in 2014

Can you give us a short overview of cardiac care in Jamaica and the Andrews Memorial Hospital :Andrews Memorial Hospital is a multiple specialty 67 bed institution, with has been in existence for over 60 years, The CEO decided in 2012 to start an Invasive Cardiac Unit and provision of Open Heart Surgery. Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, an Adult Interventional Cardiologist and I, are part of the team involved in the development of same.


TAI Wing at Andrews Memorial Hospital
TAI Wing at Andrews Memorial Hospital

A short overview of cardiac care in Jamaica (ie. BHC, UHWI, KPH all in Kingston and Non-invasive unit at CRH):Cardiac Care in Jamaica is provided by 3 main institutions, with 3 in Kingston and a Non-invasive unit at CRH in the past ~4years:

  • Paediatric Cardiology, specifically for those under 12 years of age is at the multispecialty Bustamante Hospital for Children (BHC), and multispecialty University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), via the Department of Child Health.
  • Adult Cardiology, for those over 12 years of age at the multispecialty UHWI and the multispecialty Kingston Public Hospital (KPH).
  • Adult Non-Invasive Cardiology Unit at multispecialty Cornwall Regional Hospital, for the past 4 years, in Montego Bay, on the North Western side of Jamaica.

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

The major barriers could be categorized into:

  • Lack of specific Cardiac equipment, specifically Transthoracic probes for pediatric and adult patients. There are ECHO machines available in peripheral hospitals which could provide Cardiac Services, with personnel dispatched to those specific institutions.
  • Lack of properly trained personnel starting with Cardiologist, cardiac trained nurses, perfusionists and technicians etc. There is an urgent need for development of training of personnel to facilitate being self-sufficient.
  • Limitation at the government level, dictated by financial constraints, as Jamaica is currently under the constraints of an IMF agreement, for the development of proper Pediatric Cardiology Care.
  • Medical Politics! As there is everywhere, in every area, not exclusive to medicine, but needs to be managed.

    Marfan's syndrome patient, published on GHN platform in need of help. Left Coronary Artery aneurysm and fistulas to Atria.
    Marfan’s syndrome patient, published on GHN platform in need of help. Left Coronary Artery aneurysm and fistulas to Atria.

What is the single biggest need AMH has in achieving its mission and goals?  The structural site for the Cardiac Unit at AMH is currently being renovated. The biggest needs are, Cardiac equipment to facilitate optimal Non-Invasive and Invasive Cardiac investigation and care, such as Saturation monitors, ECG, Holter monitor, Treadmill Machine is old and in need of renewal/ renovation etc.

What is your structure doing to help increase access to cardiac care in Jamaica and to ensuring its sustainability?T he addition of Interventional Cardiologist and Pediatric Cardiologist was the first step in provision of Cardiac Services. Initiation of a G.U.C.H. support group with the newly conceptualized “ Somerville Jamaica G.U.C.H. Foundaton’ will make Congenital Cardiac care available and accessible. Marketing of same, when initialized, and also to patients in need of Adult Cardiac care, will allow patients, to now have access, to Specialized Cardiac care at AMH.

17 years old, Truncus Arteriosus patient
17 years old, Truncus Arteriosus patient

Describe any collaboration your organization you have had with other organizations or stakeholders working in cardiac care? Has their been any limitations to your communication? We currently have no collaborators for Congenital Cardiac G.U.C.H. care. I have initiated collaboration with GHN to facilitate same, and response has thus far, exceeded expectations. Attempt at getting help for G.U.C.H. patients have not been fruitful, with requests to other organizations. I believe they are already overwhelmed with provision of care in the under-12 age group of cardiac patients.

How do you envision an online platform (like GHN) will help your work?  GHN platform has already and I hope will continue to facilitate with:

  1. Advice re initiation of support group, training of cardiac personnel at all levels, to facilitate self-sufficiency.
  2. Training of Cardiologist with specific interventional skills for specific Valvular Cardiac Groups whether Congenital or Acquired via Rheumatic Heart Disease, leaving the cardiac Surgeons to focus on the other patients in urgent need of Open Heart Surgery
  3. Connections that can help to facilitate obtaining specific catheters/ equipment needed to facilitate optimal care.
Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, our 17 yrs old CCHD (youngest Truncus Arteriosus patient) and Dr Sandra Williams-Phillips
Dr Edwin Tulloch-Reid, our 17 yrs old CCHD (youngest Truncus Arteriosus patient) and Dr Sandra Williams-Phillips

GHN continues to work with Dr Williams-Phillips to facilitate discussions and help to set up further assistance to support GUCH patients.  You can also listen to  Dr Edwin Tulloch Reid,

interventional cardiologists from Jamaica in an interview during the WHF Conference 2014 Australia.  For any further interest in helping our Jamaica colleagues please contact us.






Whilst we are fully engaged in our mission and working hard to connect stakeholders with one another, we also have strong thoughts for our Stakeholders working in West Africa under the burden of the Ebola Epidemic. This Ebola outbreak is like no other. It’s urban rather than rural, and therefore faster moving. It’s occurring places where there is profound distrust of the government and where basic healthcare infrastructure was among the poorest in the world before the outbreak hit.Here Doctors and nurses are not only without the stuff and staff they need, but also, and not unreasonably, frightened, since many have sickened and died; some have abandoned their posts.Countries effected by Ebola

One of GHN members, Dr Sia Wata Camanor from John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia writes to us to ensure we have awareness about what’s happening and requests help for personal protective equipment (PPE). If you can help please connect with Dr Camanor via GHN and here is a short video of our last meeting with Dr Sia Wata Camanor at the Global Forum last year.

Another NGO whom GHN knows well working in Sierra Leone, Wellbody Alliance is playing a pivotal role in bringing supplies into Sierra Leone and distributing them to the most affected clinical outposts. During this trying time please support Wellbody’s efforts.

Cardiac Surgery Capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Quo Vadis?

Special Report – May 31, 2014 – Dr Charles Yankah

Background : Current data on cardiac surgery capacity on which to base effective concepts for developing sustainable cardiac surgical programs in Africa are lacking or of low quality.

Methods A questionnaire concerning cardiac surgery in Africa was sent to 29 colleagues—26 cardiac surgeons and 3 cardiologists in 16 countries. Further, data on numbers of surgeons practicing in Africa were retrieved from the Cardiothoracic Surgery Network (CTSNet).

Results There were 25 respondents, yielding a response rate of 86.2%. Three models emerged: the Ghanaian/German model with a senior local consultant surgeon (Model 1); surgeons visiting for a short period to perform humanitarian surgery (Model 2); and

expatriate surgeons on contract to develop cardiac programs (Model 3). The 933 cardiothoracic surgeons listed by CTSNet translated into one surgeon per 1.3 million people. In North Africa, the figure was three surgeons per 1 million and in sub-Saharan

Africa (SSA), one surgeon per 3.3 million people. The identified 156 cardiac surgeons represented a surgeon to population ratio of 1:5.9 million people. In SSA, the ratio was one surgeon per 14.3million. In North Africa, it was one surgeon per 1.1million people. Open heart operations were approximately 12 per million in Africa, 2 per million in SSA, and 92 per million people in North Africa.   To access full text please contact


Didatic paper: Prevention of Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease

Mariana Mirabel, MD; Kumar Narayanan, MD; Xavier Jouven, MD, PhD; Eloi Marijon, MD, PhD


How can GHN network of networks help the global community? You can post your needs and we can help find resources for our network members. You can also post resources, and share experiences or connect directly with us Current important goals for the network Registry of CVD institutions in LMICs – Over the last year we have conducted a research project that has resulted in building a template that will inform the GHN database of CVD Institutions in LMICs. The Registry is destined to encourage south south collaboration, and start building the first ever registry of CVD institutions in LMICs. Data including needs and resources and costs of surgery will be stored and shared for network members Mapping these CVD Institutions and NGO activities, as well as other existing networks and the policy spaces where they all come together GHN has currently open an Evaluation of Humanitarian Cardiovascular Initiatives in North America. This survey is open to all who work in Humanitarian activity in North America and has been put together to include all initiatives emanating from North America. The survey is open until the end of the year and we invite you to respond. The analysis of the several responses to date are highly encouraging. 85% of our respondents are currently working in humanitarian cardiac care in LMICs and the other 14% are interested in exploring opportunities. These responses have revealed many more connections for Global Heart Network and continue to make our platform stronger and more beneficial to the community as a whole. If you know of someone who would be interested in this survey please pass along the link above.

We look forward to our next blog, where we will hope to portray a profile in Istanbul, Turkey  talk about our hopeful work in Senegal, and keep you posted with recent postings of needs and resources. We hope you have enjoyed this blog, and we thank you in advance for your interest and support in the mission and vision of Global Heart Network.

For any further information or interest in getting involved in Global Heart Network’s work to help increase prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, and to help save lives please contact us.

Many thanks


The Global Heart Network Team

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