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CONCEPT

 

 

 

 

CONTENTS

Background

Ethiopia is the second populous country in Africa after Nigeria. The county has a general population of 76 million.  From these, children under the age of 18 encompass about 46%. More than 80% of the population lives in rural areas and the majority live on subsistence farming. The national health coverage is about 51% and infant mortality is over 100 per 1000 live birth. The Gross National Product per Capita is about 102 USD a year, one of the lowest in the world.

Sector Review

Heart Diseases are prevalent among Ethiopian children. Congenital Heart Diseases occur as much as they do elsewhere, the incidence of which is believed to be between 6 and 8 per 1000 live births.  Rheumatic Heart Diseases are in particular the commonest among Ethiopian children, a case which is true in other underdeveloped countries.  The low socio-economic status of the mass of the population and overcrowding are some of the known factors which lead to streptococcal throat infection, the rise in rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart diseases.  Studies showed that 15% of the 4 million children between the ages of 5-15 years are at risk of developing streptococcus throat infection on the average twice in one year.  Thus, in Ethiopia, with 3% attack rate of rheumatic fever about 120,000 children are estimated to develop rheumatic fever every year.

The young and the productive stratum of the population are at high risk of developing rheumatic heart diseases.  Patients die at early age as a result of complications such as intractable congestive heart failure and arrhythmia, in the absence of surgical management of alveolar lesions. 

Setting

The CHFE, is non-governmental, non-profit making, specialized, and charitable organization committed to helping children with cardiac problems.  Its purpose is to save the lives of children at risk all over Ethiopia where the incidence of pediatric heart diseases is evolving alarmingly, whereas surgical treatment of heart diseases costs dearly about USD 20,000 per patient, involves highly trained professionals, technologically advanced medical equipment and cardiac surgery facilities, all of which are currently not available and not affordable in Ethiopia.

Objectives

The objectives of The Children's Heart Fund of Ethiopia (CHFE) are multi-dimensional consisting services and activities including:

  • Curative -  Saving the lives of children at risk;

  • Preventive -  Increasing knowledge about Rheumatic Heart Diseases;

  • Developmental - Provisions and capacity-building of pediatric cardiology in country in terms of facility, equipment and training.

Concern

The major challenge is to fill the gap that is beyond the reach of the country's health system and individual parents. Moreover, CHFE has entirely relay its trusts on the goodwill of individuals, groups and agencies, both within and outside the country, to this end.

Functions

Partners and Associates of the Children's  Heart Fund of   Ethiopia,  all over the world; have so far covered the treatment and overseas accommodation costs of hundreds of children; in the United State, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel and Germany.  In addition, medical teams have done both open and closed heart surgery, coming from the United States, Germany and Israel several times.  The Children's Heart Fund of Ethiopia drives an enormous amount of pride and satisfaction when those children are now seen in good health and attending school.

Strategies

As a Matter of Strategy the Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia has laid out its immediate, intermediate and long-term objectives starting from the beginning.  Now it has started to implement its intermediate objective.  At this juncture of its development, CHFE is poised to fully implement its intermediate and long-term undertakings.  To this effect CHFE has formally signed an affiliation with the School of Medicine at the Addis Ababa University and is already on the process of setting up a cardiac unit to be attached to the AAU Medical School in the premises of the Black Lion Hospital.  Now the Cardiac Centre is in its final stage of completion.  What appears to be formidable most is the acquisition of medical equipment and the training of manpower.  This is where CHFE is looking forward for the international community to come to its rescue and help in the realization of its objectives, as well.

Shortcomings

Cardiac Centre and cardiac surgery facilities are not available in Ethiopia, save for the few occasions when visiting teams have come to the country.  The cost of cardiac surgery wherever it is available is expensive.  Above all even to send children abroad for surgery wherever the service is available on gratis basis CHFE must at base have to improve its diagnostic and follow up capabilities in order to effectively utilize such offers/opportunities.

Achievements

CHFE has been approaching several individuals, groups and agencies within and abroad, ever since its establishment to attain their support. CHFE has always been impressed by the positive response it has received so far, both nationally and internationally. 

Role

The major role of CHFE is providing a second chance for the lives of children who are at risk of dying due to heart diseases and the lack of the necessary medical facilities needed to heal these children in the whole country.

Hence, this role is enormous and noble that is trusted in the goodwill of people, their kindness and their involvement in partnership wherever they are.  It is open to all, and anything they decide to put into.