On January 17th, 2019, Israeli and German medical teams ventured to Dar es Salaam, Tanazania for a week-long catheterization mission, sponsored by Save a Child’s Heart Canada. Together with the local medical team at Dar es Salaam’s Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), the lives of 21 children, born with life-threatening heart defects, were successfully saved. During the Tanzania catheterization mission, a team of 10 medical professionals from Israel’s Wolfson Medical Center and Germany’s Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin as well as a 90-member local Tanzanian team from JKCI came together to examine 29 Tanzanian children with heart defects, ultimately performing 21 lifesaving catheterization procedures.
As Dr. Sagi Assa of Wolfson Medical Center and other highly experienced medical professionals performed the procedures, the local Tanzanian team was able to learn and experience advanced catheterization techniques, ask questions, gain a better understanding and later use this knowledge to perform similar procedures on local patients, on their own. In the words of Dr. Assa, "Our mission is not to do the work and leave, but to train local doctors to successfully perform these procedures so they could operate on thousands of children in need of treatment."
The lifesaving international mission drew the world's attention - including that of the Tanzanian Minister of Health, Dr. Ummy Mwalimu, The German Deputy Head of Mission, Jörg Herrera, and the Canadian Minister Counselors, Gwen Walmsley and Meaghan Byers. They were extremely impressed with SACH’s work and expressed much pride in being involved in such an important and cross-national project.
The Tanzanian catheterization mission was but one of Save a Child’s Heart’s many humanitarian missions around the world. Each year, SACH selects multiple international destinations for partnership and lifesaving missions, during which teams from Israel and across the globe examine, diagnose and treat children with life-threatening cardiac conditions. Some of these children are treated on-site, during the mission’s duration, while others and their guardians are ultimately flown to Israel for further treatment at Wolfson Medical Center.