Tenwek Cardiothoracic Center UPDATE
Our Vision: To create a distinctly Christian center of excellence dedicated to the care of patients with cardiothoracic diseases and the training of Christian African health-care workers to carry on this work in the future
Diseases of the heart, lungs, and esophagus—particularly those conditions requiring surgical care—have largely been left untreated in much of sub-Saharan Africa. This frequently has been due to the expense and expertise required to surgically care for these patients and the perceived futility of carrying out expensive procedures on a what was thought to be a relatively small number of patients. However, recent global literature has shown clearly that chronic cardiothoracic conditions are a
source of massive loss of life and productivity on an epidemic scale in sub-Saharan Africa. Every day, thousands of young people with potentially curable or preventable conditions go untreated in this region due to lack of resources.
Why at Tenwek?
Tenwek Hospital is uniquely positioned to begin a center of excellence in cardiothoracic care and to train African health-care workers both in the medical/surgical management of these patients, prevention of the related diseases and in the broader vision of sharing the healing Gospel of Jesus Christ to those in need. Tenwek Hospital is currently the major referral center for patients with esophageal cancer in the entire region. We perform more endoscopic and surgical procedures for these patients than any other health center.
Furthermore, Tenwek Hospital is currently performing more open-heart surgical procedures than any hospital in the region. We are caring primarily for patients with rheumatic heart disease and patients with congenital heart disease. Rheumatic heart disease has largely been eradicated in most Western and higher income countries. However, this disease causes the early death (average age of death is 26-years-old) of a massive number of people in the sub-Saharan African region. In most cases, these patients have no options for curative treatment. Additionally, children and infants with congenital heart disease currently are selectively treated with transfer to the US and other Western centers for surgery. There is an enormous cost per patient. We can provide the same surgical care at Tenwek Hospital for these patients at a fraction of the cost, and simultaneously we can provide training that will enable Christian African health-care professionals to continue to provide this care in the future.
The Cardiothoracic Center at Tenwek Hospital
Tenwek Hospital has been accredited by the College of Surgeons of East, Central, and Southern Africa (COSECSA) to begin postgraduate training of cardiothoracic surgeons, beginning in 2018. COSECSA is the largest certifying organization for surgical training in the entire region—including 13 countries in the sub-Saharan region. Tenwek is the first recognized site in this consortium to offer cardiothoracic training. We envision a ministry whereby we can offer training to cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, perfusionists (those individuals who run the heart-lung bypass machine—currently, there are no approved training sites in sub-Saharan Africa), cardiac nurse anesthetists, cardiac critical care nurses, echocardiographers, cardiac rehabilitation therapists, and specially trained chaplains. After the Tenwek site is fully established, we anticipate fostering other sites throughout the region that can use the Tenwek model as a starting point for new cardiothoracic units.
We have already developed architectural plans for a sub-campus of Tenwek Hospital, which will include a 140-bed facility with inpatient and outpatient care; 32-bed ICU facility; six cardiac operating room suites; a cath lab; CT, MRI and advanced cardiac imaging; three complete endoscopy suites; housing for trainees, faculty members, patients’ families, and visitors; and chaplaincy services.
Several years ago, Tenwek purchased a 3½ acre plot of land located approximately 500 yards from the current campus. We began construction on the new residences in 2019, and these will be completed by the end of 2020. Tenwek Hospital already has employed two African cardiothoracic specialists to join Dr. White in making this dream a reality. We fully expect that with God’s continued direction, this program will become the
premier cardiothoracic care center in the region. We are committed to providing physical, emotional, and spiritual care to our patients and to training the next generation of African health-care professionals to carry this vision into the future in a sustainable, God-honoring fashion.
We anticipate that this will be a very high-profile institution, which will allow us the unique opportunity to present the premier cardiothoracic institute in the sub-Saharan region that shares the full Gospel of healing of mind, body, and soul that only Jesus Christ can offer.
We are very excited about this project and can see God moving in an amazingly wide variety of ways to make this possible. Dr. White has worked continuously at Tenwek for the last twenty years, and even ten years ago, would not have anticipated this potential for growth at Tenwek. We now have an opportunity to create something that has not been seen before in Kingdom mission work or in the medical community in all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Inspired? Give to this amazing project through a secure online donation!