In the 90's in Tunisia there were only two adult heart surgery centres which were able to perform a limited paediatric activity: of the 800 new cases of children affected by cardiac malformations each year, only 200 of the less complicated cases were able to be treated surgically. The remaining 600 operations were, unfortunately, forced to be performed outside the country, with the associated elevated costs having to be sustained by the family.
Since 1993 the association Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo has worked in partnership with the University Hospital La Rabta of Tunisy to create a cardiology and paediatric cardiac surgery unit in order to become selfsufficient and operate on at least 300 children each year.
At the commencement of the partnership with the Association, the organisational structure was very inadequate and the experience of the local medical team was very limited. Now, after years of work, the heart surgery centre possesses a new head office where a paediatric cardiology unit is operational, with the capability to produce good outcomes in diagnosis. In addition, the heart surgeon has started to operate on some complex cases.
The role of the association Bambini Cardiopatici nel Mondo has up until now been to train the heart surgery and intensive therapy team, carrying out operational missions in the new surgical centre of Tunisy, with the objective of creating an autonomous centre able to perform operations in respect of complex congenital heart conditions.