13 children complete heart surgeries at GPHC; 6 others benefit from cardiac interventions

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The team which conducted the surgeries on the children patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.  Mothers with their children are in the back row.
The team which conducted the surgeries on the children patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation. Mothers with their children are in the back row.

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Director of the Echocardiography Education Programme at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Debra Isaac has reported that during the first mission to begin paediatric cardiac surgery in Guyana, 13 children had operations and six had cardiac catheterization, (for clinical cardiac conditions), none of which had been done before in Guyana.

The surgeries were carried out through the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Health with support from International Children’s Heart Foundation, known commonly as Baby Heart.

Discharge of the children operated on was done quite expeditiously too, since the surgeries were excellently conducted. Dr. Isaac observed that the team already has a list of about 30 children to be considered for urgent surgery when the group returns on June 20.

Baby Heart has donated equipment which will remain at the GPHC. Dr. Isaac pointed out that these equipment were used during the surgeries and post-operative management. However, she noted that all the equipment would be used in future, not only by the Baby Heart programme, but for intensive care for other children in Guyana.

Children who have already had surgery along with those waiting sit with their mothers as Dr. Debra Isaac chats with them.
Children who have already had surgery along with those waiting sit with their mothers as Dr. Debra Isaac chats with them.

The mandate of the entire programme is to educate people to conduct the exercise themselves. She stated that it is not easy, as “it takes a lot of repeated education and exposure, but eventually, we would like the local physicians and the local health care workers here to utilise all these equipment and to expand their use.”

Dr. Isaac explained that on the team’s return, it would be with the same mission of doing cardiac interventions and surgeries. She observed too that the members would be able to do “more children, more angiograms, more surgeries, and more training of the staff here.”

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the GPHC Michael Khan noted that this was a big boost in the health care provided to the citizens of Guyana, “Baby Heart is coming back to do more surgeries between June 20 to July 4,” he added.

Baby Heart is a non-profit organisation which expands its reach worldwide through travel, to assist in paediatric cardiac surgeries, while at the same time build capacity among the local health practitioners in this regard. The foundation has been in existence for over 20 years and has successfully completed 7,500 surgeries in 32 countries. Dr. Isaac noted that the 18- team members, both local and international health care providers, have given beautiful memories to the families and the children themselves during the time they spent with them.

Prior to these interventions, children were sent abroad for surgeries and did not benefit from proper follow-up care. However, with the help of the Health Ministry and Dr. Marissa Seepersaud, paediatric surgeon at the GPHC, a Guyana Paediatric Steering Committee was established, with the aim of identifying children who needed surgery and others who were for institute screening. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

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