Author: Beverly Small

A dream fulfilled: Building a self-sustaining cardiac surgery service in Ghana

cardiac surgery clinic in GhanaThere were many skeptics who said we couldn’t create a self-sustaining pediatric cardiac surgery program in West Africa. But after eight missions to Kumasi, Ghana, our team’s goal was fulfilled.

Along the way, we faced numerous challenges.

For starters, when our initiative — called Hearts and Minds of Ghana — launched back in 2008, clinicians in Ghana had never seen open-heart surgery in children. (We were the first team to successfully conduct pediatric open-heart surgery in West Africa). In the beginning, Ghanaians asked what was going on and questioned the promises we made. They wondered, were we actually going to help? Would we come back?

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