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13 May 2016

OHI Volunteers East Africa visit

The San coordinated Open Heart International volunteer cardiac teams have returned from trips to Rwanda and Tanzania where they performed cardiac surgeries and trained local health professionals.

30 volunteers visited Rwanda in April and performed cardiac surgery on 19 children.

Patients included six and seven year old children who needed surgery to repair holes in the heart.

The hole was in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart, which is a defect that allows oxygen-rich blood to leak into the oxygen-poor blood chambers in the heart.

Nurse Unit Manager of Intensive Care at the King Faisal Hospital in Rwanda, Judith thanked the team for their life changing work.

"You work like machines. You are amazing; we appreciate your efforts and we do not know how to express our feelings for another successful trip.”

Open Heart International first travelled to Rwanda in 2006.

Another team of 26 volunteers visited Tanzania and performed 13 cardiac surgeries.

The purpose of this trip was to advance the training of three local doctors and their large team of nurses and support staff.

Professor Janabi, at the local Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute, thanked the team for training the staff at the institute.

"My waiting list is 500 [patients] and they keep coming every day.”

"Some teams come to reduce waiting lists; we appreciate you teaching … when the team leaves we realise a hundred things.”

Open Heart International is Sydney Adventist Hospital’s international humanitarian healthcare initiative.

Staff from healthcare facilities around Australia volunteer their personal time and expertise, forming teams to travel to developing countries and implement specific projects that help save and transform lives.

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