A Societal Workgroup Declaration

Kochi DeclarationIt is increasingly apparent that pediatric heart conditions contribute substantially to infant and childhood mortality in many low-to-middle- income countries (LMICs). While perioperative intensive care is critical to ensuring good outcomes in children with heart disease there is little awareness among health administrators, policy makers and many health professionals about the vital need to develop robust intensive case support for pediatric cardiac surgery. As a result, pediatric cardiac care has not developed in an organized fashion. It remains unstructured in most institutions without a clearly defined workforce. There are serious shortfalls in funding allocations for human resources in existing programs and plans to develop the workforce for the future are in serious jeopardy.

The Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society and Children's HeartLink announced the publication of The Kochi Declaration on Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Training during the conference on Perioperative Care for Congenital Heart Disease that took place at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, India on June 7-9, 2019. The declaration was written in consultation with a wide range of experts in pediatric cardiac intensive care, cardiac surgery and cardiology and has been received enthusiastically by pediatric heart professionals in low-and middle-income as well as in high-income regions of the world.

The Kochi Declaration on Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Training starts by defining the magnitude of burden of congenital heart disease, its growing relative contribution to infant mortality and severe paucity of human and material resources in all low-to-middle-income countries. While serious shortfalls in workforce affect pediatric cardiac surgery and pediatric cardiology, the problem is most acute when it comes to pediatric cardiac intensive care. The declaration is an advocacy statement that seeks to attract the attention of policy makers, health ministries, regulatory agencies and professional agencies towards the urgent need to develop sustainable workforce solutions for pediatric cardiac intensive care.

We hope that this document will serve as a springboard for the development of pediatric cardiac intensive care as a distinct discipline in low- and middle-income regions of the world and set the stage for generation of a stable and empowered pediatric cardiac intensive care workforce that will be able to provide quality care for children with heart disease for years to come.

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