First Lady Margaret Kenyatta Tuesday visited Mater Hospital in Nairobi where she witnessed ongoing cardiac surgeries on 10 children with complex congenital heart diseases.
The week-long surgical procedures, including catheterization, are being undertaken under a collaboration between Mater Misericordiae Hospital and surgeons from the Czech and Slovak Republics.
The First Lady said such partnerships play an important role in complementing government efforts to expand access to quality, timely and affordable healthcare.
“It is an honour to be invited to witness the amazing work of a great partnership between the Slovak and Czech Republics’ and Kenya’s Mater Misericordiae Hospital,” said the First Lady who described the surgeries as the “miracle work of medicine.”
The Hospital’s Cardiac Mission Visit is an annual event where surgeons from the two countries conduct difficult congenital heart procedures which have so far benefited over 100 children over the last 8 years.
The hospital has other cardiac mission arrangements with the United Kingdom and India. Chief executive officer Prof. Dominic Mwenja said the ultimate goal is to turn the hospital into a regional center of excellence in cardiac surgeries.
The First Lady congratulated the management of the hospital for their vision, dedication, and investment to establish the cardiac program that offers specialized cardiac care for children, many of them from poor backgrounds with little financial resources.
She said the program has eased the stress of financial burden on many families who may not need to seek treatment outside the country and also contributed to better management of congenital ailments in Kenya.
“This cardiac program has offered hope to children – some as young as a month old – who have been born with heart complications that would otherwise have impacted their growth and development,” said the First Lady.
She expressed gratitude to both the Czech and Slovak governments for their partnership that has supported the cardiac program.
“You have made available resources and expertise that will expand access to quality diagnostic, timely and accurate treatment for many vulnerable children in Kenya,” the First Lady told the ambassadors from the two nations, Pavel Rezac from the Czech Republic and his Slovak counterpart, Frantisek Dlhopolcek.
The two ambassadors pledged continued support to the program and other related health initiatives to help Kenya achieve its Universal Heal Coverage goals.
The First Lady said besides the surgical operations, the partnership has the other benefit of skills transfer to Kenyan doctors.
“I am pleased that the program has recognized the importance of skills and knowledge transfer by working closely with the local doctors. This will contribute toward the professional training of our doctors, and also ensure the sustainability of the work,” added the First Lady.
Prof Mwenja said besides the milestones achieved through the pediatric cardiac procedures, Mater Hospital has also become a training center in surgery graduate programmes.
Other Speakers included the Director of Medical Services Dr. Jackson Kioko, the Chief Administrative Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ababu Namwamba and Mater Hospital’s Head Trustee Sr. Anne Itotia.