Baby Heart Foundation to expand services in Guyana-amidst success stories

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, March 24, 2017

The team of cardiologists and other medical professionals from the International Children’s Heart Foundation commonly known as the Baby Heart Foundation (BHF) plans to expand its services in Guyana, more specifically at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

The Guyana Programme to Advance Cardiac Care (GPACC), a project supported by the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, Canada provides collaborative support to BHF by facilitating operations and care services to patients who might be diagnosed with heart diseases.

Dr. Rodrigo Soto – Pediatric Cardiologist, International Children’s Heart Foundation (ICHF)

Pediatric Cardiologist of BHF, Dr. Rodrigo Soto said that officials from the team are currently engaged with the Ministry of Public Health and officials of the GPHC on expanding the facility to accommodate more patients for the purpose of observation to efficiently complete any heart surgery.

“There are many things that we have been discussing with the Ministry of (Public) Health and with GPHC in order to expand our unit, the intensive care unit, to double the capacity in order to accommodate more patients since we have been increasing the complexity of our cases,” Dr. Soto explained.

The aim of the GPACC is to improve the health outcomes of patients with heart disease. This programme started in 2015 and takes up accommodation at the GPHC, housing a six -bed cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), a six -bed step-down unit, a heart function clinic, a cardiology clinic, an active echo and treadmill laboratory and an in-patient ward cardiology service.

The BHF, working along with GPACC, is looking to have more health care professionals trained to perform surgical procedures and cardiac care on an extended basis.

Dr. Debra Isaacs, a Cardiologist attached GPACC; said there will be a time when a team in Guyana will be able to independently support the programme. Dr. Isaacs explained that, “Our goals are not to just come here and do things; our goals are to actually work with the local health care team and increase their skills to allow sustainability of these programmes. My goal, I have always said, is that at some point people will say, well you don’t actually have to come here and work anymore we could do it on our own, come and visit but we don’t need you to do the work.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Isaacs said that she has noticed that overall cardiac healthcare has continually improved over the years through support from

Dr. Debra Issacs – Cardiologist, Guyana Programme for Advanced Cardiac Care (GPACC)

GPACC and the Baby Heart Foundation. “We have got to the point where the echo laboratory, the treadmill laboratory and the cardiac ICU are actually still continuing the work when we are not here. We’ve provided support and provided increased education and provided increased service and we are always available. We’re in contact online but they (local team) are actually running the service really on their own.”

The Baby Heart Foundation is halfway through its first trip to Guyana for the year 2017. The cardiologists aim to complete 14 open heart surgeries during this first visit. Children between the ages of five months old to 17 years old, over the past week successfully underwent surgeries.

Congenital heart disease is said to be the leading cause for babies and children needing to undergo open heart surgeries. The disease has a rate of 0.8 to one percent in the birth of babies per year which means that infants born in Guyana among these statistics will have Congenital Heart Disease.

Dr. Soto said, “That would put Guyana in anything between 60 to 70 patients every year, new patients every year with congenital heart disease that require surgery.”

The team is expected to complete a total of four visits for the year aiming for a targeted 100 per cent success rate.


By: Delicia Haynes


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