Cardiac Surgery for Severely Healthcare Deprived Countries

CardioStart International is a volunteer-based organization that travels around the world to support and improve health care systems. They’re primary focuses are on adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, supporting rural clinics, collecting major donations, and assisting orphanages.

Global Healthcare Problems

There are only 4200 heart centers worldwide and many centers are struggling to survive, particularly with COVID. Across the globe, there are many differences in health provisions, as there are disparities in wealth. It’s a difficult task to improve severely healthcare deprived (SHD) nations, but CardioStart is doing their part. To date, the U.S. has been the most responsible country trying to address healthcare abroad. 

Why Cardiac Surgery?

Dr. Marath chose to focus on cardiac surgery due to the many specialties that it involves. Some of these include respiratory therapy, anesthesia, and microbiology. In the process of performing cardiac surgery, these other areas evolve as well. 

Challenges of Working Abroad

One of the greatest challenges of working abroad is the limited time doctors stay in a place. It is therefore critical to choose patients who will be helped from the surgery so they reach the next phase of their development. At times this leads to tragedies, where the doctors don’t operate on sick people due to time constraints.

Hospitals in SHD Countries

In hospitals in SHD countries, patients and doctors face many challenges. Sometimes, people spend 2-3 days in an outpatient department hoping they can get an appointment. In some hospitals, there is no heating. Additionally, when disasters like earthquakes happen, new challenges can worsen the old ones.

Health care also requires significant funds to get the job done well. Ministers in many countries lack the resources and funds to perform their work and frequently resign. A high turnover rate in leadership is another obstacle to making lasting healthcare improvements. Military or oppressor presence also poses difficulties in providing care.

Providing Supplies Through the Logistics Program

CardioStart also collects and distributes hospital supplies. Rotararians and many other volunteers have helped with this process. These supplies can make a huge difference in a country’s budget crisis by allowing them to divert funds to other departments.

Major Deprivation Issues

Common major deprivation issues include: 

  • Infection and recycling problems
  • Affording huge laundry bills
  • Tripping hazards from outdated electrical wiring 

Improving Standards

CardioStart aims to improve medical standards across the globe. This includes encouraging doctors to label their syringes more clearly and improving care for pain. Additionally, CardioStart volunteers try to impart the art of medical care by treating patients with kindness and comforting them during operations.

Training Nurses and Doctors

Even though volunteers stay for short periods of time, they focus on training doctors and nurses to carry on better practice. In their training they encourage nurses and doctors to have first-hand experience, which provides the highest educational value. They also place a focus on treating nurses well, as nurses are often regarded as less important and overworked.

Where Do We Go Next?

While many places want CardioStart return, COVID has halted their travel plans. When they are able to return to other countries, CardioStart will continue providing cardiac surgery and helping people improve their health care systems.

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