Building a Cardiac Surgery Program

Challenge

In West Africa, heart disease is the most common birth defect, affecting one in 100 babies. In 2008, however, no heart surgery was available for children in Ghana.

Where We Started

Boston Children’s Hospital Cardiology Department founded Hearts and Minds of Ghana to create a self-sustaining cardiac surgery program in Kumasi, Ghana. Cardiac surgeon Francis Fynn-Thompson, MD, Surgical Director of the Ventricular Device and Heart and Lung Transplant Programs at Boston Children’s and a native of Ghana, Beverly Small, RN, and Christine Placidi lead the partnership, which delivers training, education and mentorship to Ghanaian healthcare providers with the goal of creating a sustainable pediatric heart surgery center.

Our Impact

Since partnering in Ghana, the Boston Children’s team has trained Ghanaian staff to care for children undergoing complex heart operations, including a perfusionist, operating room nurses, an anesthesiologist, a pharmacist, and a biomedical engineer, as well as a local surgeon who completed training in cardiac surgery. As of 2018, the Hearts and Minds of Ghana team completed over 150 total surgeries, including many pediatric heart procedures performed independently by the Ghanaian providers.

You Can Make a Difference

With your support, we can continue to create and deliver sustainable surgical care delivery and capacity building programs to improve the health of children around the world.