A unique collaboration to provide quality cardiac care for children suffering from heart disease in sub-Saharan Africa, by bringing them to Israel for lifesaving surgeries and catheterizations, training local medical teams, and advancing cross-sector partnerships to establish specialized pediatric cardiac centers throughout Africa.
Approximately 1 in every 100 babies born in the world suffers from congenital heart disease (CHD), which are structural heart anomalies that occur during pregnancy when the heart or major blood vessels fail to develop properly. CHD is the most common type of birth defect, but with advanced medical care and treatment the chances of infants and children fully recovering from CHD and living normal adult lives are better than ever.
In countries where the necessary treatments are unavailable, CHD is the leading cause of mortality in the first year of life. Quality of life is often lower for children who live with CHD in the developing world. Poverty, limited resources, barriers to healthcare, and inefficient government services, are some of the reasons these children are usually unable to attend school and require constant parental supervision. Thus, beyond its devastating direct effects on the children, CHD often leads to one parent not being able to work, adding enormous emotional and financial strain on their families.
The Israeli-based international humanitarian NGO Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) provides pediatric cardiac care for children from countries where access to such care is limited or nonexistent, by bringing them to Israel for lifesaving surgeries and cardiac catheterizations. The procedures take place at the Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, one of the world’s leading pediatric cardiac care centers. In its 25 years of activity, Save a Child’s Heart has treated more than 6,000 children from 63 countries.
Menomadin Foundation’s Founder and President, Haim Taib, joined the Save a Child’s Heart initiative in 2007, following the visit of Angola’s President Dush Santos and his wife Paula to Israel. When he accompanied them on a tour of a children’s hospital, Taib learned about the high mortality rate among Angolan children born with CHD. Throughout his decades of activity advancing civil infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan countries, Haim Taib had been deeply committed to improving the quality of life of children. He decided to leverage his vast international network of professionals, government officials, business entrepreneurs and foundations to expand SACH’s reach and advance pediatric cardiac care throughout Africa. Over the following years, Taib initiated numerous collaborations that helped bring sick children from Angola, Rwanda, Congo and Côte d’Ivoire to Israel for life-saving medical treatments.
In 2017, Taib was elected to serve as President of Save a Child’s Heart Africa, leading initiatives to establish local pediatric cardiac centers in Africa. His work gained UN recognition and even drawn the attention of Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic church, who was highly impressed by SACH’s activities in Africa. When they met at the Vatican, the pontiff personally urged Taib to continue this important work.
With Haim Taib as president of Menomadin Foundation and of Save a Child’s Heart Africa the two organizations continue to collaborate, advancing life-saving treatments for children while developing strategic national roadmaps for sub-Saharan countries, to tackle CHD on a large scale and eventually eliminate preventable deaths from congenital and acquired heart disease, with the aim of creating sustainable impact.