Treating Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Abroad? Imperatives for Local Health System Development

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Treating Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease Abroad? Imperatives for Local Health System Development


JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology Congenital Heart Disease
Article typeJournal research article – Literature review
Publication date – Jan – 2021
Authors – Dominique Vervoort , Frank Edwin
Keywordscardiac surgery, Global Health, health economics, health policy
Open access – Yes
SpecialityCardiothoracic surgery, Health policy, Paediatric surgery
World region Global

Language – English
Submitted to the One Surgery Index on January 30, 2021 at 7:57 am
Abstract:

Over one million children are born with congenital heart defects each year, whereas four million children live with with rheumatic heart disease. Although a majority of these patients will eventually require surgical or interventional care, most live in areas without access to safe, timely, and affordable cardiac surgical care. Countries with limited or no local cardiac surgical care spend up to over 10% of their health budgets on sending patients abroad to receive cardiac care. Similarly, billions of dollars are spent each year on international medical tourism, notably including seeking cardiac surgical care abroad. Some low- and middle-income countries have successfully invested in domestic cardiac surgical services, saving tens of millions of dollars over time whilst strengthening local health systems. In this article, we describe international medical tourism for pediatric and congenital heart disease, and present an analysis on whether expenditure in seeking foreign care for cardiovascular patients is worth the cost in light of a neglect of investments in local cardiac services in countries with growing health systems.

OSI Number – 20916

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