Iraqi Kurdistan comprises a vast territory in North Eastern Iraq. About 5 million, predominantly Kurdish people live in the area, with an incidence of congenital heart disease significantly higher than any other country.
The project involves a collaborative health intervention for the northerly region of Iraq, at the specific request of the regional Kurdish authorities. Such intervention, initially developed in conjunction with the MedChild Foundation and under the coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Directorate-General for the countries of the Mediterranean and Middle East, has as its main objective the contribution towards the improvement of access to treatment and cure at a local level, in particular for the infant population suffering from serious paediatric onco-haematological and cardiac disease.
In 2007 the national coordination for the treatment of congenital heart conditions was entrusted to I.R.C.S.S. San Donato General Hospital in partnership with the association Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo.
The project consists of the creation of a network of paediatric cardiology in the main cities of Kurdistan (Kirkuk, Erbill, Sulaimania, Duhok), the management of the new paediatric cardiac surgery center, which is already operating at the Azadi Heart Center of Duhok and in a 5 year training programme for a complete cardiac surgery team (surgeons, cardiologists, anaesthetists, intensive care doctors, perfusionists and nurses), as well as in the organisation of surgical missions and of local scientific congresses for professional development.