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Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli organization, has flown over 2,500 children from 43 countries — where adequate cardiovascular care is unavailable to Israel for heart surgery.
Before and after operations, the SACH medical team, equipped with portable echocardiography machines, travels to partner sites in developing countries in order to evaluate pre- and post-operative patients together with local cardiologists.
Heart of the Matter is another SACH program sponsored by the European Union, which focuses on providing cardiovascular care to hundreds of Palestinian children in Israel.
SACH was founded in 1995 by the late cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Amram Cohen. Dr. Cohen immigrated to Israel from the United States and served as Deputy Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery and Head of Pediatric Surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center.
In 1995, he was contacted by Dr. Belay Abegaz, at the time the sole pediatric cardiologist in Ethiopia, asking him for help with two Ethiopian children desperately in need of heart surgery. Now, there are three pediatric cardiologists in Ethiopia, two of whom were trained by SACH.
In 2001, Dr. Cohen died of altitude sickness while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Ten years on, a group of SACH supporters, doctors and volunteers climbed Africa’s highest peak last week, raising $1 million. Prior to the climb, 13 pediatric heart surgeries were performed in Mwanza Tanzania by the Save a Child’s Heart medical team, as well as the first ever pediatric open heart surgery.