INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE UPDATE

International Committee

Ndidiamaka L. Musa, MD, FCCM
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
University of Washington
Pediatric Cardiac Intensivist
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Seattle, Washington

Ndidiamaka Musa, MD
Ndidiamaka Musa, MD

PCICS Global Outreach
In 2013, under the leadership of Dr. Peter Laussen, PCICS adopted a global outreach strategy establishing the International Committee as a network of pediatric cardiac ICU colleagues to facilitate education, resource-sharing, training and mentoring. In addition, the committee was to provide content expertise to PCICS regarding the constraints, challenges and value inherent in providing pediatric cardiac ICU services in international settings, particularly in low-to-middle-income countries. Particular attention was also given to finding international training positions for suitable candidates from low-to-medium-income countries. The committee first’s co-chairs were Drs. Kate Brown, Parvarthi Iyer and Graeme MacLaren. This past year, PCICS instituted a 50% off membership drive that yielded a record number of new PCICS memberships from LMICs and the very first membership from Bangladesh, where pediatric cardiac care is in its infancy. There are still new frontiers to be reached, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.

From Israel, Dr. Uri Pollack writes:
A third dedicated pediatric cardiac critical care unit opened up its gates in Israel at the beginning of this year. After the new unit at Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem kicked off, three out of the four major pediatric cardiac surgery programs in the country have completed the separation from the mixed pediatric intensive care units, as pediatric cardiac intensive care has become a distinctive subspecialty worldwide. The pediatric cardiac critical care unit in Jerusalem will be the first unit in the country to support a formal international one-year training program in pediatric cardiac critical care when a pediatric intensive care specialist from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will join the team in July 2019. The pediatric cardiac surgery program in Jerusalem, serves children with congenital cardiac anomalies from the greater Jerusalem area as well as referrals from the Palestinian authority, Iraq, Central Africa, Cyprus and Russia. It was also a part of the project "Operation Good Neighbor", in which medical aid was provided to Syrian civilians from southern Syria during the civil war.

Three major Israeli-based humanitarian organizations take part in providing state-of-the-art cardiac care to children from developing countries where pediatric cardiac surgery is not available or can only provide solutions for simple congenital conditions.

Save a Child’s Heart, Shevet Achim and The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation
Save a Child’s Heart is an Israeli-based international humanitarian charity, based at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel, providing life-saving heart treatment and follow-up care for children from developing countries regardless of their religion, gender or nationality. Save a Child’s Heart trains medical personnel from partner sites from around the world in all facets of pediatric cardiac care. Over 120 medical team members from all over the world have been trained at Wolfson Medical Center in Israel. In addition, medical teams are sent to partner sites around the world in order to diagnose, teach and perform life-saving heart treatments.

The Peres Center for Peace and Innovation was founded in 1996 by the late President of Israel, Shimon Peres. Among the missions of the center is to promote medical care, including pediatric cardiac treatment, in neighbor countries in the middle east.

Shevet Achim was established in 1994 with the purpose of helping neighboring children receive lifesaving heart surgeries in Israel. This non-profit Christian international community was founded by Jonathan Miles, an American journalist with a long legacy of worldwide charity and humanitarian volunteering. The name Shevet Achim comes from the Hebrew of Psalm 133, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity…for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life forevermore”. Currently, Shevet Achim brings children with congenital heart defects, mainly from Iraq and the Gaza strip, to the medical centers in Israel.

From India, Dr. Pavarthi Iyer writes:
The last year, has witnessed a number of “firsts for the PCICS” in terms of global outreach. PCICS had a major presence in Kochi, India on June 7-9, 2019. The theme was “Perioperative Management of the Cardiac Infant and Newborn.” This meeting had a huge participation of Indian anesthetists, pediatricians and, most importantly, nurses from many Indian pediatric cardiac centres. The PCICS faculty who participated were Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, Dr. Venkat R Shanker, Dr. Ravi Thiagarajan and Ms. Sandy Staveski . This meeting was organized by Dr. Krishna Kumar from Kochi and Ms. Bistra from Childrens Heart Link. A large component of this meeting was nurse training and active involvement – this being facilitated and supported by Childrens Heart Link. Ms. Sandy Staveski needs special mention for her involvement. She played a very prominent role in nurse education and training and was amazingly supportive and encouraging to all the Indian and Asian nurses who participated. 

Other activities were hands-on, in-service training of Cardiologists from Afghanistan and Nepal by Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, New Delhi to facilitate timely and accurate cardiac diagnosis in their home countries. These children were brought across to New Delhi and operated on either for free or at highly discounted rates. These efforts were in an attempt to reach out to neighboring countries to help improve the standard of basic pediatric cardiac care.

Northern India has a huge burden of CHD – the majority presenting late and in moribund condition often with severe end organ damage. Local pediatricians are not fully aware of the implications of the burden of CHD, late diagnosis or what can be done for these infants today. A major attempt was instituted by our center to locally provide an in-house update and in-service training for a week in preoperative stabilization both for pediatric trainees as well as established pediatricians. This step was further augmented by providing completely free cardiac surgeries and interventions for 15% of our case load.

From Indonesia, Dr. Eva Marwali writes:
PCICS has previously held meetings largely in North America. Recently, PCICS had a major presence in the Asia Pacific Pediatric Cardiac Society Conference (APPCS) in Bali. This collaboration between the PCICS and the APPCS was fostered by the efforts of Drs. Kate Brown, Parvathi Iyer and Eva Marwali. They worked on the details breaking down virtual and imaginary boundaries at the PCICS Conference 2017 in Washington, DC to make this happen. Thus, in September 2018, we successfully organized the 7th Congress of Asia-Pacific Pediatric Cardiac Society (APPCS) in Bali, the first pediatric cardiac intensive care meeting with nearly 800 attendees. For the first time PCICS had a strong presence and involvement in the Asia Pacific conference. During this conference, two speakers represented PCICS. Drs. David Bailey from University of Utah, Primary Children’s Hospital and Dantin J. Roddy, from Texas Children Hospital participated as speakers. Dr. Parvathi Iyer, an IC member, also participated in the program. After the conference, both speakers from the PCICS along with Dr. Parvathi Iyer stayed on to conduct a hands-on workshop for pediatricians of Indonesia to enhance their understanding of pediatric cardiac critical care.

Back to top