Imagine if your child had a heart disease, and she only had a 50/50 chance of living – not because treatment didn’t exist, but simply because the resources were too far away and too expensive to reach. As a parent, it would be devastating to be unable to help your child.
Such was the case for little Zuhrah, age 7. Zuhrah was diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease, and also had a problem with one of the valves in her heart. But this little girl from Ghana was one of the lucky ones. She was able to receive surgery from Dr. Yankah and his team in South Africa – a necessary trip because Ghana has no safe facilities in which to perform the open heart surgery that she needed.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, the mortality rate for babies born with congenital heart disease is a shocking 48.1% - and if these children are fortunate enough to survive until adulthood, approximately 76% of them will die because of heart failure.
For most of these children, there are no adequate facilities for treatment, no qualified surgeons, no money to travel somewhere else to have surgery. They are expected to die, and there is nothing their parents can do. But Dr. Yankah is working to change these dismal statistics. Through a partnership between his organization, PASCaTS (Pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery), and the Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, Dr. Yankah is working to build up the heart health infrastructure of underserved African communities.
Edwards Lifesciences, one of MAP International’s corporate donors, is driven by a passion to help patients. Together, Edwards and MAP are providing patient care packages – as well as heart surgery equipment – to support humanitarian efforts like those of Dr. Yankah.
When Zuhrah had surgery to fix her heart, she also received a patient care package - donated by MAP International and assembled by Edwards Lifesciences employees – full of things to make sure she could recover well and feel loved.
MAP’s mission is to provide medicines and health supplies to people all over the world like Zuhrah who just need to be given the chance to live life to the fullest. It is this same passion that drives Dr. Yankah and his teams to help develop sustainable heart health infrastructures for underserved populations in Africa.
Because of the collaboration and generosity of Edwards Lifesciences, MAP is honored to be a part of this endeavor, and humbled to help give more kids like Zuhrah a second chance at living a full life.