Heart Congenital Anomalies

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A Critical Comparison of the Management and Treatment of Heart Congenital Anomalies in Australia and Kenya

The World Health Organisation (WHO) (2018) explains congenital anomalies as ‘..structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified prenatally, at birth or later in life.’ It is estimated that 303,000 babies die within four weeks of their birth annually due to congenital malformations, some of which can be prevented (WHO 2015). There are various causes of heart congenital anomalies, with majority resulting from multiple gene defects or interactions with defective genes in the foetal environment (Leggat 2011). Blue et al. (2012), states congenital heart disease affects 2,000 newborns annually in …show more content…

2012). An organisation called HeartKids (2017) provides funding for research to gain a better understanding of congenital heart anomalies as there are still many unknown factors that contribute to the development of these abnormalities. This foundation attracted a further $1.1 million in funding from the Australian Government which funded seven new research projects (HeartKids 2017, p. 4). HeartKids (2017, p.4) also assists Australian families by paying for surgeries and treatments required by congenital heart disease patients, with $235,000 of financial assistance distributed in 2016. In Kenya, there is a similar organisation called Hearts for Kids (n.d.a) which runs the Take Heart Association Project (THAP). This project aims for Kenya to have a self-sufficient program that provides necessary medical care to those that suffer from congenital heart disease, especially those who cannot financially afford the expensive care (Hearts for Kids n.d.a). Many medical and organisational partners assist THAP to execute its mission of ‘facilitating and coordinating the pre- and post-operative medical care for children who suffer from heart disease and heart defects.’ (Hearts for Kids n.d.b). The financial aid has enabled 188 Kenyan children to receive the treatment they required to lead healthy lives since the organisation started in the early 1990’s (Hearts for …show more content…

Based on what researchers heard from the affected families, HeartKids (2017) created a program focusing on how families can learn to adapt to parenting a child with a congenital heart disease. Support teams were then trained based on the new program, with staff being located in both remote and densely populated areas, ensuring all families have access to a support system (HeartKids 2017). Similarly, THAP provides support programs for families in Kenya, although they are not updated as regularly and can be difficult to access for people living in remote areas as they have limited technology access to participate (Hearts for Kids n.d.a). The lack of access to technology may not just be in remote areas but also the more populated areas due to the lower socioeconomic status which is not a problem in Australia (Hearts for Kids n.d.a). A large majority of the Australian population can access technology, even if they are deemed as less fortunate. While both countries have support programs available to families affected by congenital heart disease, accessibility to the program is higher in Australia compared to Kenya due to the higher socio-economic

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