The heart institute of the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre (AIMS) has been handling patients from Ethiopia on a regular basis.
Children and young adults with advanced congenital and rheumatic heart diseases are referred to AIMS for heart surgery and catheter procedures. The hospital has been selected for treatment after on-site assessment of its capability.
The reasons for choosing the hospital include the availability of cardiologists and surgeons and the capability of carrying out wide-range of procedures.
The programme has been jointly coordinated in Ethiopia by Dr Rick Hodes, medical director for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, who is known for his humanitarian work in Ethiopia, and Dr R Krishna Kumar, head of the Department of Paediatric Cardiology at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. “Patients are sent to AIMS in batches of 10-12 along with a medical social worker. Currently, a group of 12 patients from Ethiopia at the age group of 3-38 years are undergoing treatment at AIMS. The patients have advanced heart disease and have undergone surgical or catheter procedures. The youngest has a rare congenital heart defect and other patients have advanced rheumatic heart disease. They are at different stages of recovery and are expected to fly back next week,” said hospital authorities.
The patients are being brought from Africa since there is lack of expertise for treatment of heart ailments there. The paediatric and adult heart programmes at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences address this challenge. “Besides Ethiopia, the hospital also takes care of patients from the Maldives, Oman, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya,” the statement said.