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kinderherzen brings hope to children with congenital heart defect

Medtech supplier Getinge provided several products from its former Experience Center in Rastatt, Germany to support the non-profit organization kinderherzen in their work to build a mobile cardiac surgery unit for children with congenital heart defect.

Every 30 second, somewhere in the world a baby is born with a life-threatening, but treatable heart defect – approximately 1.3 million children each year*.

“The country in which the baby is born often determines whether they survive. Some countries are lacking adequate medical care and where even a simple infection can be fatal, sophisticated cardiac surgical treatment is impossible,” says Anja Schlarb, head of mobile kinderherzen-clinic.

In 1989, kinderherzen - Fördergemeinschaft Deutsche Kinderherzzentren e.V. was founded to work for a world where children with heart defects get a better chance of having the same life expectancy as their healthy friends. Right now, they are building the world's first modular, self-sufficient and mobile cardiac surgery unit with intensive care and nursing station to operate on children with congenital heart defect at the highest standard of care. The intention is to run the unit in crisis regions and developing countries where sufficient medical treatment facilities and structures are poor.

“When we heard about this initiative we were just in the process of moving the location of our Experience Center in Germany from Rastatt to Frankfurt. It’s a place where you can experience Getinge’s solutions in a lifelike hospital setup. For the new location, we slightly changed the concept of the showroom and aligned with our company compliance policies. We saw the possibility to reuse some of the solutions to support kinderherzen in building their mobile unit,” says Ralf Uwe Schmitt, Vice President Sustainability & Leadership at Getinge.

The equipment was made available to kinderherzen with a license agreement. It remains the property of Getinge, who will also handle maintenance of the products.

The building of the mobile kinderherzen clinic, also called MOHKI, is completed and will start operating in the country of El Salvador in 2023; where about 1,000 children are born with a heart defect every year.**

"In 2023/2024, we plan to do surgery on 50 children at the mobile kinderherzen clinic with the intent to save their lives. By 2026, this number is expected to be 200," says Anja Schlarb.

The children age ranges from a few weeks to 17 years. Most are babies, toddlers or of elementary school age.

“Our support includes but is not limited to, a mobile operating table, ventilators, anesthesia machines, and a heart-lung machine. We are very happy to help kinderherzen in their important work to provide a brighter future for these children,”concludes Ralf Uwe Schmitt.

Learn more about Kinderherzen and their work >>

*Source: (World Society for Paediatric Heart Surgery und Institute for Health, Metrics and Evaluation/GBD 2017 Congenital Heart Disease Collaborators)


Photo: The photo rights are owned by kinderherzen.