Zimbabwe currently has two specialist paediatric cardiologists, that is, doctors who diagnose, treat, and manage heart problems in children, including congenital heart disease.
This was revealed by the Brave Little Hearts in Zimbabwe (BHLZ), a local support network that advocates for better health care for children with heart diseases.
BHLZ founder and executive director Tendai Moyo told HealthTimes that there were only two specialist cardiologists for children with one in the public health service and another in the private health sector. Said Moyo:
We only have about two specialist paediatric cardiologists in Zimbabwe. Only one is attached to a public hospital. The other one Dr Bannerman is in the private sector.
So, we need these specialists to actually work on these heart diseases because we are speaking of one in every 100 births is a child with heart disease leading to about 3000 births per year of these children.
So, with one specialist in a government hospital, it is quite a big strain.
As a result, people with the means are forced to seek and access services abroad mostly as last resort. Added Moyo:
We are also looking at the right to surgery. Most of these surgeries are done overseas and most of these children’s guardians or parents cannot afford them.
So, we are trying to advocate for local solutions in Zimbabwe so that Hospitals like Parirenyatwa, Mpilo and Ekusileni are equipped for surgeries here locally instead of parents trying to raise money to go overseas.