Newsletter May 2018

Newsletter 8

Oosterbeek, May 2018

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In April 2018 I spent almost 3 weeks in Kenya for checks of the operated heart patients and to explore the possibilities for a new heart surgery program. As we wrote in our last newsletter, we had a setback in 2017 due to a broken heart-lung machine at the Kenyatta Hospital and the no longer availability from Dr. Federica de Lezzi, the cardiac surgeon.

For 2018 we therefore want to look for other operational possibilities and we have found them! There is an excellent heart center in Khartoum in Sudan.

The “Salam Center for Cardiac Surgery”, which is run by an Italian N.G.O. and offering heart operations for free for patients from Africa. Thoracic surgeons from various countries work here as volunteers. In 2011 and 2012, heart patients were already successfully referred to this, but we had to stop this at the time due to a threat of war. At the moment it is safe again and we have 6 heart patients selected to be operated there. We have sent all data and have received an answer that all patients are accepted for surgery. After this everything has to be arranged, such as visa, flight and guidance. Quite exciting, but still a very good possibility.

For smaller heart operations, which do not require a heart-lung machine, we want to see if there are possibilities at the Kenyatta hospital in Nairobi. I have referred 1 boy of 4 years to Dr. Maina, the pediatric cardiologist.

Cardiac follow up and training.

During my stay in Kenya, we checked over 90 operated heart patients, who generally made it very good. These controls are, in addition to cardiac monitoring, also very important to motivate them to keep taking their medication on a regular basis. Many people think that blood thinners, for example, are no longer necessary when they feel good.

This is an absolute condition for people with an artificial valve. The good preparation by Abdi and Paolo was a main reason of the large number of patients who came for follow up. Paolo is an Italian volunteer who has filed all the data of the operated patients into the computer. A great improvement, making the data always available.

We have performed cardiac checks in Ndugu Zangu, Meru and Nairobi. Due to the bad weather in Meru with a lot of rain, there were fewer patients, but we were still very satisfied with the total number.


Abdi, our echocardiography technician and also support in Ndugu Zangu, is doing well. He has completed his ultrasound training and received a very good assessment with the certificate that he is capable of independently making and assessing echoes. This means a big step forward for continuity and quality.  This allows me to evaluate echoes remotely and adjust the treatment if necessary. All in all, I had  good weeks with a new perspective for the coming year.

Furthermore, Kenya was remarkably green and clean, mainly because of the plastic bag prohibition.

With kind regards on behalf of the board,

Pieter Stolwijk