Operation Open Heart

BSP backs 2020 Operation Open Heart

Present at the event was OOH program’s first patient to undergo operation heart surgery on Sunday 16th February, 2020, was Faustina Jerome (18) accompanied by her father - Linus Jerome and elder sister- Fatima Jerome.

Faustina is from a remote area of Dasima in the Esa’ala district of Milne Bay Province. She completed her grade 8 in 2017 but was taken out of school due to her heart condition.

Cardiac team arrives for OOH

A team of 12, led by coordinator Dr Darren Wolfers, arrived in Port Moresby today ahead of the operation which will commence on Sunday.

The annual lifesaving cardiac operation open heart saw an advance team of four nurses arrive in the country early this week to conduct training with the local nurses.

Two children have been scheduled to go under the knife on Sunday. Operations will run through to Friday, August 3.

More training needed

Russell Lee, project coordinator of Open Heart International, says this is an important area that needs focus on.

Over the years of bringing the Operation Open Heart into PNG, Lee observes gaps in this field which can help a lot if addressed.

To make his point, he elaborated that with a surgery such as an open heart case, high technical equipment are used.

But in PNG, where heat and humidity and power fluctuations are common, maintenance of these equipment is really important.

Training to boost OOH

He said in the past, any money donated was used to buy equipment to assist with the surgery.

In fact, OOH started in the country in 1993, and has since grown tremendously, says Lee.

“It’s exciting because we’re getting towards the time where the local team is doing closed heart surgeries on their own and will soon make a step towards making open heart surgery on their own,” he said.

He added that the idea now is to help PNG doctors and nurses to get additional training with the skills to do their job.

Thousand plus OOH operations since inception

Following the end of a successful one week operation, OOH patron and Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko said since its inception over 20 years ago, OOH has produced fantastic results with over 1,000 successful operations.

Tkatchenko highlighted that OOH raises about K1 million each year from fundraising events and receives support from business houses and organisations.

He made reference to the PNG National Government and Australian Government that have also always contributed to this worthy course.

Nine patients undergo heart operations

The patients, all adults, include five females and four males from all over Papua New Guinea.

The patients traveled from as far as Wewak, Goroka, Mt Hagen, Lae, Chimbu and Moresby.

The one week operation involved local staff assisted by 10 medical staff from the National Heart Centre Singapore.

The cost for the surgeries has been fully paid by the OOH through its fundraising events and the responsibility of provincial hospitals to send the patient and guardian to Moresby for the operation.

OOH organisers failed to lodge visa applications: Immigration

The annual lifesaving medical operation that gives Papua New Guineans a second chance to life will likely be deferred to another date.

Acting Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha said the authority was only informed to facilitate the issuance of visas for the doctors and nurses two weeks ago.

“The process is that OOH has to write to us, providing us the details and endorsing particulars of the foreign volunteer doctors that would be performing these operations.

OOH working to secure donor for pacemakers

OOH has started to carry out pacemaker surgery for heart patients.  

They’ve done about 30 pacemaker cases for adults so far this year. The operation is done on a weekly basis with two cases every week.

Pacemakers are electronic devices that stimulate the heart with electrical impulses to maintain or restore a normal heartbeat.

The pacemaker works by delivering electrical impulses to specific areas of heart muscle via electrodes.

The body of the pacemaker is most often implanted under the skin of the patient's left chest.

Operation Open Heart gets funding boost of K30,000

The funding will go towards training for PNG doctors and nurses in Singapore so that they’ll be able to perform surgery work for the OOP. 

The overseas doctors that come for the OOP do not perform most of the operations but oversee the training of PNG doctors and nurses.

OOH in the past 18 months has seen a doctor return from Singapore as a fully trained cardiothoracic surgeon, two prefusionist nurses and six ICU nurses who go for regular training       

OOH plans to send two more PNG doctors overseas to train next year.

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Little Dalilah Peter recovering after heart surgery