Over the last few years there have been approximately 4,000 births annually in Barbados. The incidence of congenital heart disease (children born with heart defects) is 8 in 1,000 or 30 to 35 per year. Of these forty per cent will need intervention for congenital heart disease. During the period 1982 to 2008, approximately 200 patients from Barbados have had surgery or interventional procedures but many have not received these expensive procedures because they cannot afford it and because of government budgetary constraints.
As part of the HEARTforHEARTS programme, Dr Jose Ettedgui – a Paediatric Cardiac Interventionalist and Professor and Head of Paediatric Cardiology at the University of Florida at Jacksonville- has agreed to come to Barbados and perform interventional procedures on Barbadian children at the new facility at Bracebridge Medical Centre at a highly reduced cost. Dr. Ettedgui and his team, which includes our own Dr. Richard Ishmael, have successfully done many such surgeries and interventions over the years. The cost for five interventions is the same cost it takes to send one child overseas.
This offers a significant savings to the Government and people of Barbados as these patients and their parents will not have to travel overseas thus saving airfare and accommodation and the cost of having the procedures done in the USA.
This programme is very important, therefore, each year proceeds from our Gold Hearts campaign will be directed to the Hearts4Hearts in order to give these children another chance at life.