A project to provide exceptional services for children with Congenital Heart Defects (CHDs) before and after surgery have been launched with a call on educational institutions to pay special attention to the needs of such children.
Dubbed “Restore a Child’s Heart Project”, the project also seeks to advocate for quality and affordable healthcare for school going children with such disabilities.
It is being funded by the Centre of Hope Global Missions, UK in collaboration with Dominion Leaders Foundation (DLF), Ghana as the implementers.
The aim is to prevent CHDs, manage its effects and save the lives of Ghanaian and Jamaican children with such disabilities globally.
Dr Martha Anang, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DLF and Executive Director of the project, said it is incumbent on the education sector to devise concepts to make the classroom lively for such children.
She said research has proven that children with all types of CHD have poorer academic outcomes compared to their peers.
“Even those who have early surgery for CHD are known to have impaired development which eventually turns out to have negative effects on their performances and achievements”, Dr Anang said.
She said every child has a unique potential but this could not be fully developed if the child did not have good health.
Dr Anan said it was for this reason that the project is being introduced to help eliminate all forms of illnesses that affect school children and hinder their academic performances.
Reverend Dr Nordine Campbell, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of the Centre of Hope for Global Missions, said that a research conducted in 2016, reported that CHDs represent the second major cause of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality among young Africans.
However, she said its management was limited in Africa due to the inadequate socio-economic environments coupled with insufficient technical platforms and human resource to handle the disability.
Dr Campbell said the project would specifically identify school children with all types of CHDs and provide them with exceptional services needed to help improve their health conditions for better academic performance.
She said a Heart Restore Centre will eventually be built in the Central Region of Ghana to rehabilitate children with CHDs.
Dr Campbell expressed worry over the absence of reliable data on CHDs which makes it difficult to estimate the global burden of these conditions on the African continent.
An estimated one million children and about 1.4 million adults are living with CHDs in the United States (US) alone while the British Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Research Group in 2013, reported that one in every 180 babies in the UK are born with a CHD.
“If developed countries like the US and UK have such high prevalence levels of CHDs then one can imagine the situation in Africa”, she lamented and called on other philanthropic organizations and individuals to help save humanity, particularly, the poor little children in Africa where access to medical assistance in this direction might be non-existent.
Dr Ernest Asiedu, Head of Quality Management Unit at the Ministry of Health, who chaired the program, pledged the Ministry’s support for the project.
An Electrocardiogram (ECG) was done for about 140 children by doctors from the Doctors In Service (DIS) Clinic in Cape Coast to check their heart condition.
Dr Anang was inducted as a Health and Education Ambassador for the project worldwide by the Centre of Hope for Global missions while Dr Campbell was also made an ambassador by International Independence Interdenominational Christian Churches and Ministries (IFIICCM), a US base organization.