The Namibian Children's Heart Project
Until 2010 there were no services for children with heart disease in Namibia. In 2010 a cardiac unit was commissioned at the Windhoek Central Hospital able to provide care and surgery for older children and adults.
However, babies, small children and those with complex congenital heart disease cannot get surgery in Namibia.
The “Namibian Children’s Heart Project” is the collective vision of Paediatrician Dr Solly Amadhila, Paediatric Cardiologist Dr Christopher Hugo-Hamman and Cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr Henning du Toit with the aim to obtain safe surgery for babies and children with heart disease. In 2009 the late Namibian businessman and philanthropist Mr Harold Pupkewitz provided N$ 1 million which supported the first 9 children to receive surgery.
This financial burden was then borne by government and through a public-private partnership the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services covers the costs of patients from poor and indigent indigent families to get surgery 2000 km south of Windhoek at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
Research has been conducted on the first 200 babies and children referred for heart surgery through this Project. We have described what was wrong with them, what was done to help them, how they did after surgery and return to their homes. We have also studied and reported a group of unusual patients who were never diagnosed with congenital heart disease in childhood and presented for the first time after the age of 13 years.
More than 300 babies and small children have been referred for heart surgery or intervention at the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town.