Nonprofit Heart Surgeon Group Makes Progress In Treating Rheumatic Heart Disease But More Effort Needed From Rwandan Government
New York Times: A Boy Named Chance in a Land Without Heart Surgeons
Denise Grady, science reporter for the New York Times
“…In lower-income countries, where strep often goes undetected, rheumatic heart disease is a huge public health problem, affecting tens of millions of people. This year, about 100 Rwandan patients, desperate for lifesaving surgery, showed up to be screened by Team Heart — which could operate on only 16. It’s tempting to think that if parents could be taught to seek care whenever their children have sore throats, this problem could be wiped out. But it’s not so simple. In interviews, I found that most patients and their parents had no memory of a sore throat. … [M]any more patients than the team could handle needed surgery, and the progress I had hoped to find — like the Rwandan government stepping up to pay for these operations and train doctors and nurses to perform them — still seems to be somewhere over the horizon” (9/16).