Bracco's $250,000 contribution, the donated time and supplies of medical volunteers from NY Presbyterian Hospital, and other in-kind contributions will reach a total value of $1,000,000 to support Children's HeartLink efforts. This CGI Commitment will provide a combination of funding, training, and logistical support to the Jilin Heart Hospital in Changchun City with the overall goal to empower local experts to prevent, treat, and cure pediatric heart disease. Comprehensive support to the site will include advanced training with medical volunteers from NY Presbyterian Hospital and other centers of excellence, surgical treatment, and interventional procedures for needy children including funding for charity care, provision of critical supplies, on-and-off site training of specific team members, infection control, and other technical assistance as needed.
The project will involve the training over 150 medical personnel at the Jilin Hospital in China. The Bracco/Children's HeartLink Initiative will reach an estimated 4,000 children a year with emphasis on improving the quality of care. All assistance, whether in the diagnosis and treatment of patients or in the improvement of support services, is carried out with the intention of transferring skills to local providers.
Congenital heart disease is the world's most common birth defect, affecting one in every 100 children. Without treatment, one third of these children die before their first birthday. While the knowledge and ability to effectively treat childhood heart disease exists, more than 90 percent of children in developing countries still lack access to adequate cardiac services. Heart disease makes children susceptible to infections, and they often end up being too ill to attend school, play, or help support the family. Girls with heart disease risk a future inability to bring a pregnancy to term. In addition, caring for a critically ill child can cripple a family's ability to function effectively as an economic and social unit. Taken as a whole, untreated childhood heart disease represents a blow to a developing nation's workforce and an incalculable loss of human resources.
In China, congenital heart disease is the number one cause of death of infants. It is estimated that over 150,000 children are born in China each year with congenital heart disease with only about 15 percent receiving treatment. Additionally, there are few skilled pediatric cardiac surgeons and cardiologists throughout China. Jilin Province is one of the poorest provinces in China, with the majority of individuals living in rural areas with limited access to cardiac care. Each year approximately 16,000 children are born in the province with congenital heart disease and lack needed treatment. The cost of life-saving surgery is out of reach for 90 percent of families.
The Bracco/Children's HeartLink Initiative will support the development of a sustainable pediatric cardiac program at the Jilin Heart Hospital, the largest modern hospital in the region with the potential to help save the lives of children for years to come.
Fulvio Renoldi Bracco, Bracco AMT's President & CEO, will oversee the implementation of the Bracco/Children's HeartLink Initiative. A number of Bracco employees will be directly involved in the project and an even larger number will indirectly support the implementation of the initiative. Children's HeartLink will report to Bracco semi-annually on the progress of the initiative.
The Jilin Heart Hospital is the largest modern cardiovascular hospital in Jilin province, and third largest in North East Three Provinces. Children's HeartLink in collaboration with medical volunteers from NY Presbyterian will work with the site to achieve the following goals: 1) increase the overall number of children with access to cardiac services; 2) improve the survival rate of cardiovascular patients; 3) advance the skills of local cardiac teams to perform more complex surgeries and trans-catheter procedures in relation to their resources, skills and needs; 4) reduce post-operative complications and length of stay; 5) decrease the average age of children receiving cardiac services; 6) assist in the building and maintenance of sustainable cardiac programs with consistently acceptable results..