MRCG at LSHTM Hosts Humanitarian Mission to Treat Gambian Children with Congenital Heart Diseases in Dakar


6 September 2021

On 1st September 2021, the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) hosted a humanitarian mission from Senegal, with the aim to treat Gambian children with congenital heart diseases.

The mission, hosted in partnership with the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) and One Heart Gambia (OHG) Charity, was led by Prof Mohamed Leye, a senior pediatric cardiologist at the Université Iba Der Thiam of Thies.

Credit: Mamud Joof/MRCG at LSHTM

Gambian cardiologists, Dr Modou Jobe (MRCG at LSHTM) and Dr Lamin Jaiteh (EFSTH & OHG), and Dr Stephanie Akanni, a cardiology resident from Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) worked closely with Prof Leye to screen Gambian children with congenital heart diseases whose defects are amenable to percutaneous intervention. They were assisted by staff from the Clinical Services Department at the MRCG at LSHTM.

The team screened 35 children and adults suffering from congenital heart diseases such as ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, patent ductus arteriosus, valvular stenosis, and aortic coarctation. About 10 patients will be selected for interventional catheterization in Dakar on 9th September 2021. The patients selected for this mission will be offered free treatment.

The interventions will take place at the Hôpital Général Idrissa Pouye (HOGIP) in Dakar and will be coordinated by Dr Dior Diagne Sow, a paediatric cardiologist.

Prof Leye stated, “The turnout is very impressive, and it is important to treat these defects early. We are happy to collaborate with the MRCG at LSHTM and One Heart for this screening exercise.”

One Heart Gambia is a local NGO founded 5 years ago by Dr Lamin Jaiteh, Dr Annette Erhart and Dr Suzanne Anderson to support patients with heart diseases and their families.

This initiative will further strengthen bilateral collaborations on cardio-vascular research and access to treatment with cardiologists in Dakar.