Our mission is to improve access to cardiac care in Rwanda. That includes working to establish a sustainable regional center of excellence in cardiac care in Kigali. To prevent advanced rheumatic heart disease through a combined effort of surveillance, prevention, education and early intervention as an example of effective countrywide intervention against rheumatic heart disease that can inspire replication in sub-Saharan Africa.
TeamHeart is a volunteer organization based in New England, founded in 2007 to provide surgical intervention for young adults and adolescents suffering from critical rheumatic heart disease. Early in the process, we realized we could be a catalyst to support and stimulate a program to provide prevention and early intervention while helping to build a program in cardiac surgery. Our program has evolved into a comprehensive plan to address all aspects of rheumatic heart disease in partnership with our Rwandan colleagues.
In addition to providing surgical intervention to those selected for our surgical trips, screening of more than 120 patients is completed by our cardiology team with emphasis on skill transfer. Initial testing, evaluation, and follow-up are completed in the country by our colleagues and partners.
Highly trained professionals in medicine, nursing, and support services needed to provide mentorship, skill transfer, and the safest care possible travel to support the work or connect through technology. Each traveling medical volunteer raises funds or pays for travel and donates vacation time. Through a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health, our activities are collaborative and work with the local team.
Until 2011, we procured and shipped over 3 tons of everything needed to provide cardiac surgery. Beginning in 2012, we began to transition the supply chain to Rwanda while training a Rwandan team in our office--the first step to sustainability.