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About Us

The Namibian Children's Heart Foundation funds and supports a team of doctors and scientists researching heart disease in Namibian children. ​

  • We support research into the common kinds of heart disease in Namibian children.

  • We identify young medical scientists and build research capacity in our country.

  • We generate robust data through which we can influence public policy.

Our objective is to grow as a principal heart disease research funding agency in Namibia.

Your donation makes a difference to children's lives.

The Founder - ​ Mr Harold Pupkewitz (17 July 1915 - 27 April 2012) 

During his long life, businessman and philanthropist Mr Harold Pupkewitz gave meaning to the words “putting back into society”.  With no services available in Namibia for children with heart disease, in 2008 the “Namibian Children’s Heart Project” was established to provide finance for children to have surgery in South Africa.  By his hand, funded by the “Child Survival, Protection and Development Foundation”, the first 9 indigent babies and children received surgery in Cape Town.  This project was then taken over by the Ministry of Health and Social Services and the “Namibian Childrens Heart Project” continues to this day with over 350 children having  received treatment.   

In a further remarkable philanthropic gesture in 2011 Harold Pupkewitz endowed a fund to assist research into heart disease in children in Namibia.  Initially called the Harold and Ethel Pupkewitz Heart Foundation, further endowments and research grants have enabled the Namibian Children’s Heart Foundation work towards it’s three objectives namely,

1. To support research into heart disease in children. 

2. To identify and develop young medical scientists and thereby improve research capacity in Namibia.  

3. To create an enabling environment for scientific inquiry in cardiac medicine and thereby contribute to scarce skills retention in Namibia. 

Meet our board

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Tom Alweendo


Mr Tom Kavaningilamo Alweendo is the Minister of Economic Planning and Director-General of the National Planning Commission for the Government of Namibia. In 2003, he became the first Namibian Governor of the Bank of Namibia a position he held until 2010.  Prior to this he was head of Air Namibia.  


Tom graduated  from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and has a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales in the United Kingdom.  He is chairman of the board of the Heart Foundation. 

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Meryl Barry

Meryl Barry is the late Mr Harold and Mrs Ethel Pupkewitz’s only daughter.   She is a Non-Executive Director of the Pupkewitz Group of Companies in Namibia.  Meryl is the CEO of the charitable and philanthropic Pupkewitz Foundation managing the strategic disbursement of millions of Namibian dollars annually in education, health, sport, civil society, environment and culture. Under her leadership, the Foundation has grown into one of the most productive and effective Corporate Social Investments agencies in Namibia, impacting on one million Namibians. 

Meryl was born and raised in Windhoek. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art. She went on to complete her Higher Education Diploma at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1979. 

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Dr Christopher Hugo-Hamman

Christopher is Head of Paediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, Ministry of Health, Namibia.  He is the past Chairman of the Steering Committee of the World Congress Paediatric Cardiology & Cardiac Surgery and Chairman of the 6th world congress in Cape Town, 2013.  He held numerous positions in public health including Director of Ministerial Services, Ministry of Health, South Africa and Health Attaché at the South African Mission to the European Union.  He championed the National Programme for prevention and control of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in Namibia and is Principal investigator for Namibia of the Global Registry for RHD, the RHD GEN and INVICTUS research studies.


Chris started the “Namibian Children's Heart Project” a public private partnership ensuring heart surgery for Namibian state patients.  Together with Henning du Toit and with a generous endowment from Mr Harold Pupkewitz, he established the Namibian Children's Heart Foundation.  His advocacy and humanitarian work is recognised through his appointment to the International Advisory Board of the international agency, Children’s Heartlink.

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Dr Henning J Du Toit

Henning du Toit is a Cardio-thoracic surgeon educated at Grey College and the University of Free State in Bloemfontein.  He trained in surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town with a Fellowship in Edmonton, Canada.  


He was instrumental in establishing the Cardiac Units at Windhoek Central in 2010 and Roman Catholic Hospital in 2011. He co-founded the “Namibian Children’s Heart Project” to bring surgery to indigent state funded babies and small children with heart disease.  With Chris Hugo-Hamman he convinced businessman and philanthropist Harold Pupkewitz to endow the Namibian Children Heart Foundation. 

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Dr Salomo Amadhila

Dr. Solly Amadhila qualified at the University of Natal in Durban and as a Paediatrician at the University of Stellenbosch and Tygerberg Hospital. He was Namibia’s first Permanent Secretary of Health and Social Services and Head of Department of Paediatrics at Windhoek Central and Katutura Hospitals. He chairs the committee of medical interns training programme evaluators for the Ministry of Health. He was a pioneer for and is member of the steering committee for the University of Namibia Medical School.  He has extensive business experience and interests.


Dr. Amadhila is Managing Director of Rhino Park Private Hospital and on the board of Hartlief Corporation Limited and the medical supply company Biodynamics.  His intervention and leadership with his friend Mr Harold Pupkewitz resulted in funding for and the initiation of the “Namibian Children’s Heart Project”.

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Dr Fenny Shidhika

Dr Fenny Shidhika did her medical degree at the University of Cape Town.  She is a Fellow of the College of Paediatricians of South Africa and a specialist Paediatrician.  In 1918 Fenny completed her training in Paediatric Cardiology at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. She has a Certificate in Paediatric Cardiology from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. That year she returned to Namibia to take over the Paediatric Cardiac Unit at the WIndhoek Central Hospital.  She is the first Namibian to have qualified as a cardiologist.

You can make a difference.
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