Purpose of review
It is projected that by 2050, around 40% of all births, and about 40% of all children, will be in Africa, up from about 10% in 1950. Consequently, this trend will cause an increase in noncommunicable diseases in children, such as congenital and rheumatic heart diseases. The current state of pediatric cardiac care in sub-Saharan Africa is dire with some countries without cardiac surgical services at all. The purpose of this review is to highlight those components needed to build a sustainable model for a pediatric cardiac care center in sub-Saharan Africa.
Review of the literature reveals that capacity-building for pediatric cardiac care in sub-Saharan Africa can be a challenging entity. Several factors must come into play to lay the foundation for a successful cardiac program. Key among them are early diagnosis of heart disease, human resources, financing cardiac care, and political commitment.
The burgeoning pediatric population in sub-Saharan African lends itself to an increase in the incidence of pediatric heart disease. The need for sustainable, patient-centered cardiac centers is pressing. Establishing such pediatric cardiac care models will require the essential components of early diagnosis, increasing human resources, financing cardiac care, and political commitment.