Although the global spread of COVID-19 halted our mission program, we are proud that our efforts to screen children abroad recommenced in June of 2021, when a team led by Dr. Naiz Majani, a Save a Child's Heart trained pediatric cardiologist, arrived in Stone Town, Zanzibar to team up with Dr. Omar Suleiman, Doctor of Medicine at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar, to screen children suffering from heart disease.
On June 12, 2021, Dr. Naiz Majani, a Save a Child's Heart trained pediatric cardiologist who now leads the pediatric cardiology department at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, arrived on the Island of Zanzibar with her colleagues, Nurse Sr. Husna Mzunga and Echo technician Abubakar Dalidali on a mission to screen children in need of life-saving cardiac care.
This mission, supported by Save a Child's Heart Foundation Canada, is the first of 2021, and the first since last February when the spread of COVID-19 halted international travel. There, they joined Dr. Omar Suleiman, Director, and Coordinator of Pediatric Cardiology at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital who trained in Israel in 2009. We are so excited to be back on the ground in Zanzibar and proud of Dr. Naiz, her team, and Dr. Omar and his team, for leading the way and working to change the face of pediatric cardiac care in Tanzania, Zanzibar and in East Africa.
Over the course of the three-day mission, the team screened 238 patients, approximately 150 of whom were new patients. The cases included new, urgent, and follow-up cases. Echo images are currently being shared with the medical team in Israel for assessment. 47 are eligible candidates for surgery or catheterization procedures in Israel as per review by Dr. Alona Raucher-Sternfeld, Director of Pediatric Cardiology.
We're happy to report that while in Zanzibar we had the opportunity to follow up with Fatma, the 5000th child treated by Save a Child's Heart. Fatma's mother, Balkis, was also treated by the organization. Now three, Fatma has begin school!