Alder Hey surgeon leads lifesaving team in Namibia

Alder Hey surgeon leads lifesaving team in Namibia

Alder Hey surgeon leads lifesaving team in Namibia

21st Oct 2022

A team led by Alder Hey has returned from Africa where they performed lifesaving cardiac procedures on sick children. 

A team of nine health professionals led by Alder Hey Consultant Cardiac Surgeon Mr. Ram Dhannapuneni operated on nine children in five days in Windhoek Central Hospital in Windhoek, Namibia. 


The multi-skilled team of five from Alder Hey that went on the trip to Namibia were:

  • Mr. Ram Dhannapuneni – Consultant Cardiac Surgeon
  • Azza Keibida - Consultant Anaesthetist 
  • Luigi Cirello - Cardiac scrub nurse 
  • Rachel Barker - PICU nurse 
  • Durga Ghosh - PICU nurse

There were also colleagues from Birmingham Children's, Leicester Children's and even Latvia.

The team performed four operations and helped the team based in Windhoek with five others, allowing the Namibia team to train and learn from the best so they can perform these operations in the future. 

The trip was organised by Healing Little Hearts, a children’s charity, that funds trips by medical staff to perform cardiac surgery on children in remote areas who otherwise wouldn’t have access to treatment. 

Mr. Ram Dhannapuneni, who was on his 29th international trip said: 

“The people in Windhoek welcome our team so wonderfully and we are very grateful to them for the hospitality shown to us. 

“Our international trips give a chance at life to the children. Most of the children we saw would normally have been operated on at 6-9 months. If we don’t make these trips they probably wouldn’t survive, or their families would have to raise huge amounts of money to be sent overseas. 

“By training the local teams there, we can leave a legacy from our trip. The surgeons there are now able to perform some of these operations themselves in the future. 

“We are so lucky to have the NHS in the UK and I feel we must pass on our skill and knowledge to the wonderful people in Namibia.” 

Thousands of children are born with heart defects each year, but not all children have access to a public health system like the NHS. So, Alder Hey, working alongside colleagues in the NHS and as part of our International Department, make international trips each year to help save the lives of children and young people as well as help train and upskill surgeons in other countries. 

Alder Hey staff have made similar visits to help people in India, Tanzania, Palestine, and Jordan. Mr. Ram Dhannapuneni will make his 30th international trip to Bengaluru in India in November. 

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