Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) remains the world’s most common birth defect, affecting approximately 1 in 100 children. Children with CHD in Africa have a dramatically different prognosis to those living in developed nations, in terms of morbidity and mortality. Hence, this partnership between MEAK/Evelina London Children’s Hospital and MP Shah Hospital has the goal of treating children who cannot afford surgical repair. In January 2017, the teams performed open-heart surgeries on 15 children.
This year, a similar mission has been organized with the hope of carrying out 20 open-heart surgeries on children with congenital heart who can otherwise not afford such intervention. The international team is made up of 9 specialist doctors and 7 nurses. Mike and Dee Bellière are the founders and driving force behind the charity, MEAK. The camp is to run from January 25th to February 2nd 2018, with screening to take place on the 26th and 27th of January at the MP Shah Hospital’s Cardiac Centre. Screening will be for all children with cardiac defects.
In 1994 the Belliere’s took the bold step of establishing a bonafide charity and MEAK was born. The main thrust back then was the collection, transportation and distribution of medical and educational aid provided, free of charge, by UK donors to needy organizations in Kenya. Today MEAK organizes and funds medical and surgical missions in the fields of pediatric cardiac surgery, dentistry, ophthalmology and orthopedics. To date MEAK has carried out over 140 missions, performing over 15,500 surgical procedures, but we know there are plenty of people we still need to reach and that the numbers in need are increasing on a daily basis.
MEAK has been performing their heart missions at Kenyatta National Hospital since 2002. 2017 was the first year that the pediatric cardiac surgical mission for repair of congenital heart defects took place at MP Shah Hospital.