In Mozambique, as in other African countries, the level of cardiovascular diseases is strongly increasing. Rheumatic disease is one of the numerous and serious problems concerning public health. Its most common consequences are rheumatic carditis and tropical endomyocardial fibrosis. In tropical and subtropical endemic areas, rheumatic disease almost exclusively affects children and young adults. The heart damage is its worst consequence and it consists of a deforming alteration of the cardiac valves which can lead to their progressive disfunction, up to pulmonary hypertension and/or cardiac insufficiency. One of the main degenerative causes is malnutrition. Children affected by endomyocardial fibrosis, who risk their life, urgently need a surgical operation to live.
In Marrere, the Combonian Missionaries who manage the local hospital, are aware of the numerous cases of children affected by fibrosis thanks to Dr. Zobbi’s diagnosis, an Italian cardiologist who periodically flies to Mozambique as a volunteer. Unfortunately, the hospital of Marrere is not equipped with a cardiac surgery ward, therefore it is necessary to bring the children to the ICOR: Insituto do Coração de Santa Maria, the cardiological centre of Maputo.
Marrere is about two thousand kms from Maputo which is reachable only by plane. ICOR ensures free surgery and hospitalisation for poor children.
The project A journey for life offers a plane ticket to a child and a relative who accompanies him. Two round-trip tickets to Maputo cost around 600 Euros.
When the children are back to Marrere, they are followed by the Missionaries at the hospital cardiologic unit until they completely heal, and later, they take part into health and nutritional supporting programs.