The Babyheart team, including 17 volunteers, recently returned from its second two-week medical mission to Georgetown, Guyana. As ICHF works to establish a world-class pediatric cardiac unit at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, education was once again a big focus during the trip. The team also performed several surgically complex procedures, including two patients who would not have survived until the next planned trip.
Making strides in education with local medical staff
The weekend before the trip, ICHF held two teaching days with the ICU nurses and pediatricians. There was a great attendance with about 30 local staff there each day. ICHF also held a mid-trip training session for nurses and provided hands-on training in all specialties throughout the two weeks. It is our hope that through more training, equipment and other resources, local medical teams will be able to save more children with congenital heart defects. It’s essential when urgent complex surgical procedures arise, as evidenced on this trip.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress the local team has made. They have made great strides to improve certain aspects of the program since the first trip, and all specialties have made an effort to improve their areas. This was especially seen with the ICU nurses, who dedicated their days off to coming in for training sessions. As an educator, this is extremely exciting and motivating to see.” – Randa Blenden, PICU nurse educator and medical trip coordinator for ICHF
Babyheart team performs complex surgeries
With only eight surgical days available during the trip, due to limited anesthesia coverage, the team was still able to complete 12 surgeries. Some of those included a 6.5 kg Tetralogy of Fallot and three Glenn procedures in single ventricle patients, which were a first for Guyana. At the end of the trip, all but one patient had returned home! To date, the Babyheart team has now provided care to 31 patients in Guyana.
ICHF, Ministry of Health and Georgetown Public Hospital share vision
Guyana’s Minister of Public Health, Hon. Dr. George Norton, visited the unit to check in on how our surgeries and education efforts were going. He also hosted a press conference at the end of the trip, and we were honored to be invited and recognized at that time. The press conference was a great benefit to ICHF and helped to reinforce the commitment of all parties involved in this project.
The next trip to Guyana is scheduled for Nov. 21 through Dec. 5, and ICHF is aiming to complete four trips to the country in 2016. If you are interested in supporting our Guyana program, please consider donating or volunteering! As we continue to build a sustainable pediatric cardiac care unit at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, we hope you’ll join us in our mission to save more children’s lives!