Cardiac care or the lack of it is quickly becoming a major challenge for rapidly developing, developing, and under-developed countries. In particular, in India, heart disease is expected to account for a third of all deaths by 2030. A major portion of these being young people. Heart disease is also identified as one of the top health challenges in Africa. Hypertension, coronary heart disease, and other congenital problems strike one in two Africans. Subbu Ramalingam, my good friend and current director of Gift of Life International (GOLI) was highly motivated in addressing this problem at its heart. In our conversations, we decided that our operating model will be to take an existing organization providing cardiac healthcare solutions, streamline its objectives, and to improve its funding pipeline. This is where GOLI came in the picture.
For the past few years, Gift of Life International, under the auspices of Dr. Russo has been addressing a small part of this problem by providing technical support for complicated heart surgery in India, Afghanistan, Kenya, and Burundi. We have assisted in multiple complicated heart operations and have introduced continuous quality improvements to reduce hospital infections and post-operative morbidity. We have a network of hospitals in India willing to serve as centers for continuous professional growth. Aishwarya trust in India is willing to support a training program for two surgeons from Burundi and Afghanistan with exams and benchmarks against latest developments in cardiac surgery.
I personally like GOLI because it has the potential to be self-sustaining. We can train high-quality cardiac specialists in a developing country by securing funds to have cross-collaborations with experts in the US. These in-country specialists will be able to foster the practices with a much wider audience. I also see GOLIs role expanding from a narrow scope of cardiac surgery support to a broader scope of healthcare advocacy, health management, and cardiac disease prevention.
I would like to invite a discussion from all of you on this topic. If you need specifics about GOLIs mission, avenues for your involvement, or any other related questions, please comment on this blog.