Dr. Kifle Tondo, a German-trained Ethopian surgeon, hopes to build a pediatric cardiac clinic and training center in Ethiopia. To ensure successful surgical outcomes, Transonic has donated flow measurement equipment to the centers.
Transonic Systems (Ithaca, NY) is pleased to be able to help a German-trained Ethiopian surgeon realize his dream. Dr. Kifle Tondo, currently working in Braunschweig, Germany hopes to build a long-term clinic for children with heart disease in Ethiopia. He is also working to establish a training center, Hospital Germano, for cardiac surgery. To ensure quality assurance during cardiac surgical procedures, Transonic has donated equipment including a flowmeter and flowprobes to the center.
“It is wonderful to have the opportunity to assist in such a worthwhile cause said Miriam Tenorio, Marketing Manager at Transonic Systems. “It is always heartwarming to hear about people like Dr. Tondo and his team, who go above and beyond the call of duty, and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re glad to be able to be a small part of such a big endeavor.
The connection between Braunschweig City Hospital and Ethiopia stems from Dr. TondoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s longstanding vision to help his countrymen. After receiving his MD and PhD degrees from the University of Cologne and while working in the cardiac surgery intensive care unit in 2001, Dr. Tondo organized the first transport of Ethopian children to Germany for heart valve operations in 2000, in the University Hospital of Goettingen where he served for 8 years.
However, he envisioned more than helping individual children. He also began laying the groundwork for caring for such cases in Ethiopia. Cornelia Schollbach, a Braunschweig cardiac surgery intensive care nurse, was listening. She asked if it was possible to send a complete team of doctors, cardiac perfusionists, and nursing professionals as well as all of the necessary medical equipment to Addis Ababa for short periods of time in order to perform heart valve replacement operations.
Thus, the Heart for Ethiopia Project was born!
At the time, there was not a single hospital in Ethiopia with the capability of performing cardiac surgery. First preparations took place in 2002. The challenges were many. First, a willing partner hospital in Addis Ababa was needed to partner with Dr. Tondo. The Black Lion Hospital, a University Hospital agreed to partner and promote the project. Secondly, a search had to be conducted for medical professionals to provide operative therapy and long-term follow-up care. Then, equipment, supplies and manpower had to be determined. All consumable materials from soap and disinfectants to suction catheters, bandages and dressing materials for the intensive care unit had to be ordered, acquired, packed, and shipped. Last, but not least, donations to fund the undertaking had to be solicited. Fortunately, support came from many organizations, government offices, and companies whose contributions allowed this project to become a reality.
Presently, a surgical team from Braunschweig City Hospital travels routinely to Addis Ababa to perform open-heart surgery on children and young adults. During the first 2-week visit to Ethiopia in 2004, 19 cardiac operations were performed, including valve replacements, a reduction plasty of the left atrium, a pacemaker implantation and a left ventricular myomectomy. The team met regularly after Project 2004 to discuss future plans. In 2007, the team returned to Ethiopia and performed valve replacement or reconstructive operations on 19 patients. The third project, hosted by the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa in 2009 saw successful valve replacement surgery performed on another 18 patients. The most recent project in 2011 was equally successful.
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