Heart surgery

Backlog: 511 children awaiting heart surgery

By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Executive Director of Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute (JKCI), Mohamed Janabi, said there are currently 511 children at the institute awaiting heart surgery.

Professor Janabi made the revelation here during a joint press conference between JKCI and the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).

The press briefing was aimed at mobilizing the public to participate in the fundraising marathon that will facilitate the treatment of cardiac complications among Tanzanians.

Professor Janabi noted that between 8 and 10 million shillings are needed to treat each child. “The number relates only to children, that is, other than adults deployed for operations,” he said.

“We apply special bandages when treating children with holes in their hearts. This is a procedure to close an atrial septal defect. Those with valve failure are given artificial ones. However, most of these materials are imported,” he added.

According to him, the institute was the largest and most trusted facility for the treatment of heart disease in East and Central Africa.

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“Two million children are born each year in the country. 20% of them are born with some type of cardiovascular complication. However, 25% of them have to undergo surgery. And these procedures are very expensive,” he said.

“We thank the government for its contribution. However, more is needed from both the public and private sectors,” he added.

The head of JKCI noted that when TPDC approached his institute for a joint charity event, they immediately agreed with the aim of raising funds for a worthy cause.

Read: Tanzania and Uganda lead Africa in fight against heart disease

He described the various activities that will be undertaken during the marathon, including blood donation of which 300 units are expected to be collected for children who will also be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Earlier, TPDC chief executive James Mataragio said the organized marathon would be led by former president Jakaya Kikwete after realizing the extent of the problem.

“We contribute to the health sector through the construction of health facilities and the provision of services. However, today we organized a marathon to raise funds for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases,” he said.

According to him, their goal was to raise enough money for the treatment of at least 50 children at JKCI.